Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rewind Thread • 1998
Here's the 1991 thread
Here's the 1992 thread
Here's the 1993 thread
Here's the 1994 thread
Here's the 1995 thread
Here's the 1996 thread
Here's the 1997 thread

Alright, let's do this. Every Mon/Wed/Fri from here on out.


- Antonio Inoki is expected to announce his retirement at the NJPW Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show, with his final match expected to take place in April. Inoki is 55 and would probably have to be considered the biggest wrestling star of this generation. He had the famous match with Muhammad Ali, TV shows he wrestled on in Japan did ratings that Hogan and Nitro could only dream about, he headlined the largest crowd in history (North Korea, but you know how that goes), and he's been the long time face of NJPW which at several times throughout its history has been the #1 promotion in the world. He also parlayed that fame into a successful political career. No word on who his final opponent will be. From here, Dave recaps Inoki's life and career, which is deserving of a book (Inoki mostly kept his word. He had his retirement match in 1998 and aside from 2 brief "exhibition" matches in 2000, he really did stay retired.).

- WCW Starrcade is in the books and much of it was just an unmitigated disaster, plagued by no-shows, questionable decisions, bad matches, and a botched finish to the biggest match in WCW history. After over a year of buildup, Sting wrestled his first match in about a year against Hulk Hogan at Starrcade. The result...wasn't great. The build-up was great. There was more anticipation for this match than any match in recent years. Despite not wrestling for a year, Sting has become the #2 merch seller in the business (behind Steve Austin) and WCW ratings are through the roof. But when it came time to deliver the match, it all fell apart. The idea for the match was for Hogan to pin Sting and referee Nick Patrick to do a fast count, thus screwing Sting out of the win. This would lead to Bret Hart coming out and being all "not on my watch" and restarting the match with himself as referee. Problem: Nick Patrick didn't count fast. Dave suspects Hogan changed the spot in the match (because how do you botch a fast count) and Nick Patrick didn't dare go against Hogan's wishes. And so it looked like Hogan simply pinned Sting clean, only to be screwed by Bret Hart which definitely isn't what they were going for. To try to correct this, they had a rematch on Nitro the next night, with the idea that they would air the finish on the debut episode of Thunder. So they had Hogan vs. Sting again on Nitro and the show ended in the middle of the match. It led to a record number of calls and complaints to Turner Broadcasting. Basically the whole thing was a mess, made even worse by the fact that Sting looked completely human and lackluster once the bell rang, immediately killing the entire gimmick he'd built over the last year. Other notes from the show: WCW is predicting a 1.7 buyrate, which would be by far the largest PPV buyrate in WCW history and bigger than anything WWF has done in at least 7 years. The show also broke gate and merch records as well. Eric Bischoff worked his match with a serious knee injury suffered in training.

- Kevin Nash was scheduled to face The Giant at Starrcade but the day before the show, WCW got word that Nash had suffered a mild heart attack. Whether it was true or not was the big question everyone was asking. There's word that it may have just been bad heartburn or indigestion (which Dave says is actually a fairly common misdiagnosis). There were a lot of rumors that Nash just didn't want to put over Giant and this was his way of getting out of it. Nash's father died of a heart attack and word is Nash is pretty paranoid about a similar fate, so he may have just overreacted to some heartburn (in his book, Bischoff kinda implies the same thing. That Nash was paranoid that he was having heart issues like his dad at about that same age, plus he suspected Nash wasn't thrilled with putting over Giant).

- Konnan also missed the show because his girlfriend had given premature birth to their baby who was born stillborn. WCW convinced Randy Savage to fill the role in the 6-man match Konnan was supposed to do but they had to change the finish to get him to agree to do it. Konnan's team was booked to lose, but Savage only agreed to work the match if he got the win. Scott Steiner was none too thrilled about it and had a major argument with Terry Taylor backstage over the decision.

- Raven also missed the show after being advertised for a match with Chris Benoit. Raven has been out for weeks with an inflamed pancreas but WCW continued to promote him for the match, hoping he'd be better by then, but he wasn't.

- Dean Malenko had also asked months ago to be allowed to miss Starrcade because his wife was due to give birth around the same time. But WCW booked him for a match and advertised him for the show anyway. Malenko told them he wasn't going to be there. But after so many advertised matches began to fall apart, WCW didn't want another no-show, so they finally worked out a deal with Malenko to work the show, but to do it, they actually chartered a private jet to pick up Malenko, bring him to the show, and then take him back home immediately. So yeah, all in all, this show was a total freakin' mess. And unbeknownst to anybody at the time, this was also the peak of WCW. It's all downhill from here for the next 3+ years.

- Dave mentions that WCW Thunder debuts this week and says if you have any good ideas for the show, email them to Eric Bischoff ASAP because he could probably use them, as there's still no real plan in place for what Thunder is going to be and how it will be handled.

- We get a break down of star ratings for 1997 vs. 1996, while acknowledging that this is just one man's opinion and there are always limitations to a rating system like this. Dave lists the top 50 or so wrestlers based on the ratings he gave their matches, breaks it down to an average, then compares it to the year before. For example, the highest rated guy in 1997 was Kenta Kobashi, who averaged a 4.38 star rating. In 1996, he averaged 4.31 so he actually improved slightly this year. Dave points out some other interesting notes: Steve Austin was averaging 3.94 for the year up until his neck injury in the match with Owen Hart. Had he not been injured, Austin would have likely finished as the best rated in-ring performer of 97 in the U.S. Marcus Bagwell has gotten a lot of votes for Most Improved in the Observer Awards, but that's because he's doing great in his heel persona as a character. His matches still suck just as much as in 1996. Benoit's average suffered a significant drop but he was also paired with a lot of weak opponents and limited storylines for most of 1997 compared to 96. Bret Hart actually improved over 1996 and he likely would have ended the year as the top rated wrestler in America for the year if the Montreal match had played out to a real finish and gotten a better rating. Shawn was in the same ballpark but just a little bit below Hart. Chris Jericho seems to be one of the most underrated guys in the business. Rey Misterio Jr. would have been near the top but his average was dragged down by his multiple matches with Prince Iaukea. Keiji Muto went from being one of the best in 1996 to one of the most inconsistent in 1997. DDP has gotten a huge push and is positioned as one of the top guys, but his matches in 97 are slightly worse than in 96 and he's just not that good in the ring on a consistent basis. Randy Savage seems slightly revitalized and 1997 was one of the better in-ring years he's had in a long time, after most people had written him off as washed up.

- AJPW's first ever Tokyo Dome show takes place in May and Giant Baba told reporters he would be interested in using WWF wrestlers on the show. As of now, there has been no discussions between Baba and Vince McMahon but it's considered likely that they will probably work out a deal (I think they end up getting Vader for the show but that's it).

- Hulk Hogan is no longer the wealthiest pro wrestler ever. That honor now resides with New Hampshire indie wrestler Jason Sanderson who just won $66 million in the New Hampshire lottery.

- The official word on the USWA lawsuit filed by Mark Selker is that Jerry Lawler and Larry Burton "conspired, colluded, aided and abetted one with the other and with others as yet not named as defendants to concoct a scheme and device by which to trick, cheat and deceive debtor by lies, tricks, misrepresentations by material omissions, conversion and other forms of theft designed to victimize persons later to become principals of and/or lenders, vendors, employees and other creditors of and to debtor into delivering to Lawler and/or Burton approximately $1,110,000." It's believed the total value of USWA was around $500,000 but Lawler and Burton managed to sell half of it to Selker for more than double that amount, allegedly by doctoring the books and lying about the financials of the company. Lawler simply claims that Selker didn't know what he was doing when he bought a wrestling company and immediately ran it into the ground.

- ECW's next PPV in March will be broadcast by Time Warner, which adds about 3 million more homes that can now potentially get ECW's PPV. Time Warner had previously been one of the outlets refusing to carry ECW PPVs over concerns about content. This is especially big news because Time Warner is the primary PPV carrier in New York City, where ECW also has a strong following, so this could lead to thousands more PPV buys for the company's next show. As it stands, Cablevision is the only major outlet still holding out and refusing to carry ECW.

- Stevie Richards had neck surgery to remove 2 vertebrae from his neck and word is he'll never have the mobility in his neck necessary to ever wrestle again so his career is most likely over (nah).

- Nicole Bass, a 6'2, 230 pound female bodybuilder showed up in ECW and powerbombed a guy. Bass has some fame from appearing on Howard Stern due to her freakish, manly physique. She's expected to be paired with Justin Credible and Jason, sorta like their own version of Chyna. The gimmick is that she will date Jason (self proclaimed "sexiest man on earth") and they will call her the sexiest woman on earth. So when Jason's making out with her, everyone will act like he's gay because she basically looks like a man and he'll be in denial and act like he doesn't see it. Anyway, there was already some heat on Bass because the second time she appeared at an ECW show and powerbombed someone else, she dropped him on his head in a dangerous way. Bass has no training so people were wondering why they had her out there in the ring doing spots without ever being trained. She's expected to start training at the ECW school this week.

- Random notes from the recent ECW show in Queens: New Jack brought out a 4 foot bong to use as a weapon and then he and Spike Dudley pretended to take bong hits in the ring. Al Snow got the biggest pop of anyone in the company and is well on his way to becoming the top babyface in ECW. He ended up in the balcony with the whole crowd chanting "Head! Head! Head!" at him.

- Sabu had to get some of his teeth wired together after the botched spot with a table a few weeks ago. But in typical Sabu fashion, he didn't take any time off and, in a match in Japan, he got hit and messed the teeth up again.

- Davey Boy Smith signed a deal with WCW after paying the WWF $150,000 to buy his way out of the remaining 32 months on his contract. He's expected to debut on the first episode of Thunder but he won't be able to wrestle for a few weeks after recently undergoing knee surgery (which also led to a staph infection in both legs). He has a torn ACL but decided against surgery for that because it would have kept him out for 6-8 months and instead had arthroscopic surgery which has a much shorter recovery time. Word is Smith had a conversation with Vince about the direction of WWF, feeling it wasn't suitable for his son Harry to watch. Vince offered him the chance to negotiate with WCW and to buy his way out of his WWF contract if he wanted to leave. Dave notes that Smith knows more about what went on backstage during the Montreal incident than nearly anyone because he was there for it every step of the way, from the finish of the match (he was waiting in gorilla to do a run-in before the Vince had them ring the bell) to the backstage fight afterward. He was reportedly so upset by it that Vince realized that if Smith was forced to stay, he was going to be miserable and unhappy and it would just be a bad situation for everyone (shame Owen wasn't given the same option).

- Notes from Nitro: Dave says they're simply killing Benoit with this terrible feud with Raven's Flock and now they seem to be pairing Benoit with McMichael which is even worse. Mortis is talented and they need to more with him. And he thinks they should break Booker T off as a singles wrestler because he's really good.

- WWF has been doing good ratings during their unopposed 2nd hour each week, and Dave thinks WCW will probably start doing more 3-hour Nitros so that Raw stops having an unopposed hour every week. In fact, it's worth noting that WWF's ratings have noticeably been up ever since Montreal. The screwjob seems to have generated interest in WWF and after more than a month, that interest is holding strong (the comeback begins...).

- Speaking of Montreal, Bret Hart recently ran into the Hebners at the airport in Charlotte. Word is Bret was cordial to Dave but not to Earl and the two men didn't speak.

- Bischoff held another meeting with the roster before Nitro last week and once again emphasized that he didn't want any low blows, lewd gestures, or swearing on Nitro. He said he wants to differentiate WCW from WWF and he believes WWF will start having sponsorship and publicity problems soon due to their new edgy product and he doesn't want WCW in that situation.

- Alex Wright was backstage at Starrcade and it looks like he'll be able to return to the ring eventually, after suffering an aneurysm a few weeks back.

- On Raw, they kept teasing something involving Mike Tyson to keep people tuned in and then at the end of the show, they announced that WWF was negotiating with Tyson to get him at Wrestlemania. Dave thinks the big money would be in doing a shoot match with Tyson vs. Shamrock but says there's 0% chance that will happen because Tyson's people wouldn't risk putting him in that situation. And a worked match would probably upset the athletic commissions and would hurt his chances of ever being unsuspended from boxing. So that pretty much just leaves a special ref role or something and Dave thinks his name won't mean much as far as generating PPV buys and it may hurt his image, which is already in tatters and his people have been trying to repair his image so they probably won't like it either. Plus it would likely get WWF some bad publicity, since Tyson is basically public enemy #1 these days (well, I think we can safely say Dave was pretty far off base on this one but he changes his tune soon enough).

- HHH is currently out of action with a dislocated knee but Dave also notes that he was supposed to drop the European title to Owen Hart on Raw this week before the injury so, yanno....make of that what you will.

- Terry Funk debuted on Raw as Chainsaw Charlie, doing the Leatherface gimmick from Japan. He helped Cactus Jack chase away the New Age Outlaws. Despite wearing a stocking over his face, the crowd immediately broke into a "Terry!" chant but the announcers never acknowledged that it was obviously Terry Funk.

- Undertaker has been getting booed in his recent confrontations with Kane, while Kane has been getting a babyface reaction. It hasn't gone unnoticed by WWF. The plan is for them to feud and then eventually team up.

- Jim Cornette is expected to lead a group of "traditional" wrestlers against the current WWF roster. The angle came about because Cornette has been legitimately complaining about the direction of WWF. At the tapings for next week's Raw, it led to Cornette bringing out NWA president Dennis Coraluzzo and NWA VP Howard Brody to talk about the history of the NWA. They also had a match to crown the NWA North American champion between Jeff Jarrett and Barry Windham, but it was awful. Word is Dan Severn (the legit current NWA champion) may be involved in the angle if/when they bring him in.

- Last week it was mentioned that Crush had been released. The story had to do with an angle the week before where Kane had attacked all the members of DOA. At one point, Crush was legit injured when Kane dropped him wrong. Crush was upset about it and threw a tantrum backstage and that pretty much led to his release.

- Contrary to rumors, there are no plans for WWF to bring Sid back. He's still not healed from his neck surgery but said that when he is, he will never work in WWF again because he's still bitter over how he was fired.

- Mick Foley will likely be working as Dude Love at house shows, which allows him to work a less physically demanding style, and then he'll break out the Mankind of Cactus Jack characters at major shows and do all the crazy shit he's known for. They figure they can prolong his career a little longer this way.

- WWF returned to Canada for the first time since the Bret Hart incident for a show in Ontario. The crowd was about half of what they expected, so it was a pretty huge drop-off. Whether that can be blamed entirely on the Bret situation, who really knows but it was a sharp decline. Shawn Michaels got hit by a thrown drink and got on the mic, saying he wouldn't wrestle until the fan was thrown out (which he was).

- Letters section is all over the place, but there's at least a couple of people who think WWF is making a mistake by going in this new edgy direction and that the company is just going to keep getting worse. This is why they don't listen to us.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

[+] 2 users Like Peezy's post
HOT FUCK! Been waiting on this, I look forward to silently eating lunch and reading.
[Image: 330skup.jpg]

[+] 3 users Like Dr. Mario's post
Honestly, aside from the main event scenes, most of the attitude era is uncomfortable to watch.
[Image: Chaos.png]

Sitting in the courtroom Jury Assembly. Thanks for passing 10 mins of my time.
2 hours later...
Yeah I can't help ya there buddy haha
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]


- WWF has apparently reached an agreement with Mike Tyson to appear at Wrestlemania. They claim they're still negotiating, but with Don King making a taped appearance on Raw, it's obvious some sort of deal has already been reached. The idea is Tyson will wind up as the special referee for one of the matches at WM. Tyson isn't coming cheap either. WCW was reportedly in negotiations to get Oscar de la Hoya to appear for WCW but that deal fell through and they were looking at getting Tyson before WWF evidently locked him down first. Whether this ends up being worth it for WWF depends on how WWF plans to use him and how much mainstream publicity they can generate for it. Tyson is the biggest draw in the history of PPV but that's for boxing, not for refereeing. And after his last boxing match and the controversy around that (biting Holyfield's ear), he's got a lot of negative stigma around him. If they can somehow manage to do a Tyson/Ken Shamrock shoot fight, they could probably do record setting numbers and turn Ken Shamrock into the biggest star ever, especially if he wins. Surely WWF is considering the idea but Dave still thinks there's 0% chance Tyson's people will go for something like that. As simply a referee, who knows. WWF expected the Lawrence Taylor angle and match at WM11 to generate huge publicity and buyrate and it ended up being a flop. As for what this means for Tyson trying to get reinstated to boxing, according to a Nevada State Athletic Commission official Dave spoke with, they consider WWF no different than an appearance on Larry King or SNL and no matter what role he plays, it will have no bearing on his boxing future.

- About 6 months ago, WCW had made a deal for Tyson to appear on Nitro immediately after the Holyfield fight. But after that fight happened and the fallout from that, Turner execs nixed it because they wanted nothing to do with having Tyson on their network. As for WCW negotiating recently with Oscar de la Hoya (the current top PPV draw), the idea was for him to referee a Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero match, with all 3 being Hispanic, to try to build up that fanbase for WCW. But de la Hoya's people seem to have pulled out of negotiations.

- There's rumors of Hulk Hogan jumping ship back to WWF but they don't appear to be that serious. Hogan's been in contract negotiations with WCW as his deal is almost up. And Hogan had been interested in doing a TV series based on his recent successful made-for-TV movie, but TNT passed on doing the series. Hogan is shopping the series around and if USA Network happens to have interest, it could lead to Hogan jumping back to WWF. Hogan is still considered WCW's long-term answer for the championship since nobody sees Sting as a long-term champion. WWF is more dependent on house show business and it's unlikely they would put their title on someone who won't work house shows, so if Hogan returned to WWF, he likely wouldn't be positioned as the top star the way WCW does with him.

- NJPW's Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show drew a sellout 65,000 fans and likely did the 2nd highest gate in the history of pro wrestling. It featured 5 short matches by the retiring Riki Choshu as well as Antonio Inoki announcing his retirement, with his final match taking place in April. No word on who his opponent would be but Inoki did mention Hulk Hogan's name as a possibility, which would be dependent on Hogan's willingness to put over Inoki. There have been polls in Japan and the top 3 names leading the list that people want to see Inoki face in his final match are Rickson Gracie, Tatsumi Fujinami, and Giant Baba. Dave runs down the results and reports what he heard about certain matches but he hasn't seen it himself yet so no review yet.

- The latest on Kevin Nash is that there wasn't any real concern from people who knew him that he actually had a heart attack, with most people just assuming indigestion or stress leading to chest pains or something. It ended up not being a heart attack. Plus, Nash has made no secret backstage that he didn't want to work with the Giant and most people have pretty much assumed that's the real reason he missed Starrcade. Nash has been scheduled to work against Giant for the last 3 PPVs. At Halloween Havoc, he missed the show due to knee surgery. The injury was legit but there was question as to whether he necessarily needed the surgery at the time or if it could have been postponed to a later date, but Nash chose to do it then. He was advertised for a match with Giant at World War III but he claimed to not be fully recovered yet and got out of that one as well. And now he missed Starrcade, claiming heart trouble that turned out to be nothing. Nash has reportedly agreed to work the upcoming Souled Out PPV against Giant but WCW hasn't advertised it yet.

- There had been rumors of HHH faking his current knee injury to get out of dropping the European title to Owen Hart but scratch that because it's a legit injury. HHH's knee was in rough shape when he showed up, dislocated and swollen and the diagnosis is a detached patella and partially torn meniscus. It's believed he'll be out of action until the Royal Rumble and possibly longer.

- Dave looks back on all the major shows of 1997 from WWF, WCW, and ECW. Back when the year started, everyone thought competition would bring out the best in both companies. It brought out lots of crazy angles and hotshot booking and exciting TV but when it comes to PPVs, most of them sucked. The Observer does reader polls after every major show (thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs in the middle) and of the 27 PPVs between the 3 companies, only 9 of them got voted thumbs up by Observer readers which is waaaaay down from 1996. WCW and WWF had 4 each while ECW had 1. Everything else was either thumbs down or middle. Dave gives a brief recap of every major PPV of the year. Among the highlights: WCW's Souled Out PPV last January was widely panned as one of the worst PPVs ever, while WWF's Canadian Stampede in July was arguably the best PPV in WWF history. He also then goes on to break down the international major shows the same way (Japan, Mexico, etc.)

- Bruce Prichard is expected to meet with Giant Baba later this month to work out a deal for WWF wrestlers to work the upcoming AJPW Tokyo Dome show.

- There was an interesting/funny bit at a recent indie show in California. Erin O'Grady (later Crash Holly) was cutting a promo talking about why he went to ECW and why he was only there for a few weeks. O'Grady had gotten some heat because he refused to help set up the ring for some shows. This eventually got him heat with Taz and he was banned from the ECW dojo for 30 days (he had been living in a mobile home in the dojo parking lot). O'Grady also said Bubba Ray Dudley treated him like a rookie, even though he's been wrestling since 1989. O'Grady said his deal with ECW was to be a wrestler, not be part of the ring crew, although he did travel with the ring crew to save money on transportation. Anyway, while O'Grady was doing this promo, the lights went out and several other indie guys on the show came out dressed as ECW wrestlers. One of them (Michael Modest) did a dead-on impression of Taz. Two other guys came out as Mikey Whipwreck and Bubba Ray Dudley and they all 3 tried to bully O'Grady and make him leave the ring. Dave says it was similar to the NWO Arn Anderson parody, except even better acting and impressions. Anyway, throughout the promo, O'Grady was respectful of ECW and said he liked the company and the wrestling, but also said he would never go back. He was careful to clarify that he only had issues with those 3 guys, not the entire company.

- More info on Randy Savage filling in for Konnan at Starrcade. Savage only agreed to do the match if he got the win because it was a lower card match and Savage is a main eventer so he wasn't going to do a match that low on the card and not get the win. He also refused to pin Ray Traylor (Big Boss Man) in the match because Traylor is considered a jobber at this point and he wanted his win to be over one of the Steiners, since they're higher on the pecking order. So that's why the match ended with Savage pinning Scott Steiner.

- The feeling among most of the midcard and cruiserweight guys in WCW is that they would rather be somewhere else. Since there's no upward mobility in WCW for them, they're realizing that they're all doomed to be in midcard matches forever as long as they work for WCW, but they're all locked into contracts so they can't leave. Basically everyone below the main event is miserable because they know the company doesn't care about them.

- Vader was fined 50 dinor ($166) for the issue in Kuwait last year where he roughed up a morning TV host. He is still facing a civil suit and the host is asking for 120,000 dinor ($398,000). Vader appeared on a local news show in Denver and was very emotional, with tears rolling down his face, and said he was just doing what he was told and that the character he plays on TV isn't who he really is.

- Terry Funk is the one who came up with the Chainsaw Charlie gimmick that he's using in WWF. Funk had previously announced he was retiring in the U.S. but you know how that goes. He also had a $15,000-per-week deal with FMW in Japan but they've decided to stop using him so that might be why Funk took the WWF offer. Funk is expected to work WWF shows as often as he chooses and kinda gets to make his own schedule except for major shows when they need him there. He's expected to be on TV fairly often.

- WWF has started a training camp in Stamford this week, with training by Pat Patterson and Dory Funk. The idea is to teach some of the newer signees (or older ones that need to learn better) how to work the WWF style. Among the names there are Marc Mero, Darren Drozdov, Tiger Ali Singh, Randy Blackbeard, Ahmed Johnson, Mark Henry, Steve Blackman, Matt Bloom, Shawn Stasiak, Sean Morley, Kurrgan, Taka Michinoku, and Adam Copeland. Word is Copeland and Morley have been the most impressive. It's believed this will become a regular deal, somewhat like the AJPW dojo where Dory Funk used to train younger wrestlers back in the day.

- In regards to the house show a couple of weeks ago when Shawn Michaels got a fan kicked out for throwing a drink at him, it was a black fan and Shawn reportedly got, umm, a little bit racist with him while yelling at him and waiting for security to take him away. Dave says Michaels made several "monkey" references at him and then just says there were other things said that he won't print. Yikes Shawn...
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]


- It's the awards issue and Dave runs down all the winners for 1997, as voted on by readers of the Observer. So let's do this:

- Wrestler of the Year - Mitsuhara Misawa

- Most Outstanding Wrestler - Mitsuhara Misawa

- Best Box Office Draw - Hulk Hogan (this replaces the old Best Heel/Face awards)

- Feud of the Year - Steve Austin vs. Hart Foundation

- Tag Team of the Year - Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama (2nd year in a row for them. Misawa also won it in 95 with Kobashi so 3 in a row for him)

- Most Improved - Tatsuhito Takaiwa (2nd place goes to Rocky Maivia)

- Best on Interviews: Steve Austin (by a landslide. Also, 2nd year in a row for him)

- Most Charismatic: Steve Austin

- Best Technical Wrestler: Dean Malenko (2nd year in a row)

- Bruiser Brody Memorial Award (Best Brawler): Mankind (7th year in a row for Foley)

- Best Flying Wrestler: Rey Misterio Jr. (more than 3x more votes than the 2nd place winner, Taka Michinoku. Also, this is the 3rd year in a row for Rey)

- Most Overrated: Hulk Hogan (4th year in a row)

- Most Underrated: Flash Funk (just barely beating out Chris Benoit by 4 votes)

- Best Promotion: NJPW (3rd year in a row)

- Best Weekly Television Show: NJPW (breaking ECW's 3 year streak and in fact, ECW fell to 4th place this year)

- Match of the Year: Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13

With Austin commentary

- Rookie of the Year: Mr. Aguila

- Best Television Announcer: Mike Tenay (puts an end to Joey Styles' 3-year streak)

- Worst Television Announcer: Dusty Rhodes

- Best Major Wrestling Card: WWF Calgary Stampede

- Worst Major Wrestling Card: WCW/NWO Souled Out

- Best Wrestling Maneuver: DDP's Diamond Cutter

- Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic: Vince McMahon interviewing Brian Pillman's wife after his death (in fact, WWF has the all top 5 spots on this one)

- Reader's Personal Favorite Wrestler: Chris Benoit

- Reader's Least Favorite Wrestler: Hulk Hogan (4th year in a row)

- Worst Wrestler: Hulk Hogan

- Worst Tag Team: The Godwinns (2nd year in a row)

- Worst Television Show: USWA

- Worst Manager: Sonny Oono (there is no Best Manager category this year)

- Worst Match of the Year: Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper at Halloween Havoc

- Worst Feud of the Year: DOA vs. Boricuas vs. Nation of Domination

- Worst on Interviews: Ahmed Johnson (2nd year in a row)

- Worst Promotion: USWA

- Best Booker: Paul Heyman (4th year in a row)

- Promoter of the Year: Riki Choshu (3rd year in a row)

- Best Gimmick: Stone Cold Steve Austin

- Worst Gimmick: New Goldust (normal Goldust was fine but the S&M version in 1997 was just too much I guess)

- Most Embarrassing Wrestler: New Goldust

- Mike Tyson is expected to become a regular character on WWF TV starting at the Rumble and going through until Wrestlemania. He will appear on most, but not all episodes of Raw during that time. The plan is likely for him to be a referee/outside enforcer for the main event. It's believed WWF is paying him somewhere in the $4 million dollar range, and it will take a very creative storyline for him to be worth that much money on PPV. WCW's recent Starrcade, which was the biggest money PPV in the last 6 years, only did $6.5 million so WWF will need to be in that range for the money they're paying Tyson to be worth it. But there's other things to consider, like the mainstream media coverage WWF will get out of this, plus sure-to-be higher ratings for Raw. So it may be worth it in that way. It looks like Tyson will be booked as a babyface. Dave expects the WM main event (Austin vs. Shawn) to end with Austin pinning Shawn and Tyson KOing Helmsley to send the crowd home happy. The negative media publicity has already started, but that was expected. This whole thing gives the media 4 easy targets to hate: Tyson, Don King, Vince McMahon, and pro wrestling. It's been the usual stuff, calling WWF a cesspool of drugs, Vince McMahon's a smut peddler, it all glorifies violence, Tyson is a criminal and disgrace to sports, yada yada yada.

- The contract situation with Hulk Hogan has gotten interesting. It's believed (but not confirmed) that Hogan signed a new WCW contract this week, allegedly with a huge raise over his previous one. But rumors had been going wild all week that Hogan was heading to WWF. For their part, WWF denied that they even had negotiations with Hogan but a source Dave spoke to says there might have been a little bit of truth to the rumor. Considering WWF still has a contract tampering lawsuit against WCW pending, they're obviously going to deny that they ever spoke with Hogan even if they did. It's known that Hogan was shopping his TV series around to different networks, including USA Network, but USA didn't seem interested. Regardless, rumors of Hogan going to WWF got so strong that a few mainstream newspapers started reporting it. Jim Ross went on the WWF hotline and strongly denied that they had spoken with Hogan and said that it was likely just Hogan trying to fuel rumors in order to help his negotiations with WCW.

- Wrestling legend Bobo Brazil is in critical condition after suffering a stroke a few weeks ago. Dave even names the hospital and room number because the family is encouraging get well cards. Dave recaps Brazil's life and career. He was almost always a babyface and headliner everywhere he worked. Dave covers his legendary feud with The Sheik that lasted decades and how he was one of the first true black stars in professional wrestling to headline shows and sell out arenas.

- WCW Thunder debuted and did a strong 4.02 rating, going head-to-head with NBC's monster Thursday night lineup of Friends, Seinfeld, and ER. The ratings dropped like a rock during the main event though (DDP vs. Kevin Nash). It was mostly a forgettable show, but the ratings were good. The first episode was 3 hours, which is interesting because up until a few days before the show, no one even knew if it was going to be a 2 or 3 hour show. They eventually decided on 3 hours for the debut but from now on, it will be 2 hours. Speaking of...

- Effective next week, Nitro will permanently become a 3-hour show. The decision was made because WWF's unopposed 2nd hour was doing strong ratings after Nitro went off the air. With Raw seeming to gain momentum lately, WCW wants to nip it in the bud. This obviously brings up the question of overexposure. Between Raw, Nitro and Thunder, that's 7 hours of wrestling on TV every week, plus monthly PPVs (jeez, 3-hour shows every Monday night, can you imagine? Ugh.)

- Newspapers in Japan are reporting that Muhammad Ali will be a special guest at the April 4th Tokyo Dome show where Antonio Inoki will be retiring. Dave doesn't know if it's true. Could be a work and it wouldn't be the first time Inoki has promised Ali would be somewhere (in other news, as I write this, I just recently finished reading Ali vs. Inoki by Josh Gross and it's a fantastic read. Highly recommend: https://www.amazon.com/Ali-vs-Inoki-Forg...1942952198)

- At the latest ECW show, Paul Heyman gave away styrofoam mannequin heads to most of the crowd as they came in the building, which they all waved during Al Snow's match. ECW plans to start selling the heads as well. It made for a great visual and Al Snow is quickly becoming the hottest star in ECW.

- After the ECW Arena show, several of the wrestlers reportedly got into a brawl with some people at a nearby bar. There's a million different stories but apparently Chris Candido and Sunny had parked their car in a way that blocked someone else in. When they went to leave, Sunny got into an argument with the woman who was blocked in, and it led to a drink being thrown. People came out of the bar and it started to turn into a mess. Sabu came out to stand with Candido to fight and then someone alerted people who were still at the ECW Arena and a bunch of other wrestlers came running over to get involved. It's known that Candido was on the ground and had been stomped a few times and one of the bar patrons got a black eye from a Too Cold Scorpio punch (Scorpio was working the ECW show with WWF permission which is why he was there). Police showed up but no one was arrested.

- Speaking of Scorpio, this was a one-time deal, although ECW wants to keep using him if they can. As it stands, the agreement is pretty much that WWF will allow ECW to use any wrestlers that they don't have booked for those dates, as long as the wrestler wants to do it. Scorpio (or Flash Funk, whatever) wasn't booked by WWF this weekend, so ECW asked and were allowed to use him on the show.

- The Bushwhackers contacted ECW about coming in, using their old Sheepherders gimmick, but it doesn't look like it will be happening.

- Marty Jannetty debuted on WCW Nitro this week in a good match and looked to be in good shape.

- Dave mentions yet again how much this Bill Goldberg fella seems to be getting over. He's getting big pops every time out.

- TNT recently lost their NFL Sunday Night Football contract to ESPN, but the belief is that this is good news for WCW. It will make WCW a higher priority for the network since Nitro is one of the highest rated programs on the network and now may be #1 since they no longer have the NFL. Sometimes NBA basketball games do better ratings that Nitro, but not always. It also frees up a lot of money that TNT was paying the NFL that can be used for other things.

- WCW has released Debra McMichael. They had considered putting her with Flair but eventually nixed that idea. Over the past few months, WCW has cut ties with Debra, Sherri Martel, Nancy Sullivan and Jacquelyn. Kimberly Page is mostly just a Nitro girl now, which pretty much leaves Elizabeth as the only woman in the company with an actual role.

- Dave talks about how disorganized WCW is, with so many title changes happening on the fly. With house show advertising being sent out in advance, it has created a mess where advertised matches rarely take place because the champion usually isn't the person that was advertised. It's also screwed up the weekend shows which are pre-taped weeks in advance, and you often have matches on TV showing someone as champion weeks after they lost the belt on Nitro or PPV.

- Dave says the recent training camp that WWF wrestlers had to attend must have done some good. He says Kurrgan used to wrestle like a 60-year-old Giant Baba, but now he wrestles like 55-year-old Giant Baba. Speaking of that camp, Dave has heard nothing but positive reviews. The standouts were Adam Copeland and Sean Morley, but reportedly Ahmed Johnson impressed as well. He showed up in better shape than he was the last time he was seen on TV (reportedly lost around 35 pounds) and showed a willingness to work hard and learn, which got him over with Patterson and Dory Funk, who were doing the training.

- HHH will be out of action until mid-February due to his knee injury. Shawn Michaels also injured his foot over the weekend but didn't miss any shows.

- Dan Severn officially signed with WWF this week. No word on if he'll be brought in as NWA champion or be put into the NWA angle but that would make the most sense.

- Jacques Rougeau and Pierre Oulette have also signed with WWF. It's surprising considering how bad of terms Rougeau and WWF were on just a couple of years ago but then this is the wrestling biz so Dave says nothing is a surprise. They had recently been in WCW but both of them were phoning it in and were terrible.

- Jeff Jarrett's wife has been diagnosed with cancer so he's out for awhile to be with her (she dealt with the cancer for several years and eventually passed away in 2007).

- WWF is reportedly trying to bring in several "seedy" celebrities with bad reputations for Wrestlemania. That's why they got Tyson and they're also reportedly bringing in Pete Rose. Dave says that pretty much every sleazy celebrity other than OJ Simpson has likely been contacted (they also eventually got Gennifer Flowers).

- Gorilla Monsoon returned backstage to WWF after his recent near-fatal heart issues. Word is he has lost around 50-60 pounds and currently, there are no plans for him to get a heart transplant, although he still may need it down the line.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post
- This past week's Raw featured a tremendous angle with Steve Austin confronting Mike Tyson. The angle received publicity literally throughout the world as the top sports story. What was kind of lost in the shuffle was after the angle, Vince McMahon was shown apologizing to Tyson backstage and right as Raw was going off the air, Tyson looked right in the camera and called Austin a "faggot." But this was 1998 so no one seemed bothered by that except Dave. WWF then released a statement, carried worldwide by the AP, that Tyson had challenged Austin and that WWF would be meeting with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (who suspended Tyson) to see if it would be okay to make the match. Many media outlets have already been reporting it as a done deal. But there's no confirmation that the match will happen and other outlets are reporting that Tyson is scheduled to be a referee at WM. Dave breaks down the financial realities of each scenario. Tyson is obviously a bigger draw in a match than as a referee and he goes into how much they're paying Tyson and what they need to draw on PPV for it to be financially worth it.

- The original plan for Wrestlemania was for Austin to beat Shawn Michaels for the title, but obviously if they can get a Tyson vs. Austin match to happen, that would have to be the priority. But Tyson likely isn't going to do anything to risk injury. This obviously brings to mind the famous Antonio Inoki vs. Muhammad Ali match from 1976 and Dave recaps that disaster (read the book!). Dave lays out a few possible scenarios: Tyson has a match with Austin, likely ending with DX interfering and Tyson/Austin teaming up to take them out and shaking hands to end the show which then gets carried worldwide by the media. Tyson's people want him to leave WM as a babyface, to help rehabilitate his public image. Or they can do an Austin/Tyson vs. DX tag match. Or Tyson ends up as a referee for an Austin/Shawn main event. Word is that even though the athletic commission can't legally stop him from wrestling, they aren't thrilled about the idea and if Tyson chooses to abstain from wrestling, it will likely help him get his suspension overturned when the time comes so the odds of Tyson participating in an actual match are slim. The final option Dave sees would be for Tyson to go into Wrestlemania as a potential heel ref with the idea that he may cost Austin the match, only for him to eventually do the right thing and count the 3 for Austin to win and end his brief wrestling career on a high note (ding ding ding!).

- Bobo Brazil passed away this week and Dave once again covers his life and career, in a little more detail than last week from his semi-pro baseball career to his years as a top draw, the first black wrestler to really break the color barrier and work major matches against white opponents. He was widely respected and beloved by pretty much everyone who worked with him. Yet another great obituary piece by Dave that's worth reading in full.

- Dave breaks down some more figures for 1997, this time listing the top PPV draws of the year. This is based on buyrates and people who main evented PPVs. To no one's surprise, Hulk Hogan was the top PPV draw, followed by Undertaker, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and Roddy Piper rounding out the top 5. Then he goes real deep into financial details like showing how much Hulk Hogan was worth to WCW on PPV by comparing the buyrates of shows he wasn't on to shows he headlined. Basically, WCW gained an extra $5.6 million by having Hogan on PPVs, but then Hogan gets a big cut of that so WCW might not be actually profiting too much on him.

- WWF's Royal Rumble is in the books and was a pretty good show that had the predictable finishes everyone expected (Kane costing Undertaker the title and Austin winning the Rumble). Notes from the show: Dave says Rocky Maivia showed that he's a genuine top star and has the potential to be everything they hoped he would be when they hired him. Out of the entire roster, Dave thinks he's the most likely to turn into their next big star. Dave says he actually remembers being a junior in high school and seeing Rocky backstage at the San Jose Civic Auditorium with his mom and grandmother back when Dave used to go to those shows and Rocky's dad and grandfather wrestled in the area, which was sort of a second home to them. Mick Foley entered the Rumble as all 3 of his characters in a cute bit. Mark Henry threw Phineas Godwinn out of the ring and Godwinn landed on top of referee Jack Doan. Doan had to be legitimately rushed out of the building in an ambulance and taken to a hospital and word is he suffered a concussion. Dave talks about Tyson watching the show in the skybox and takes a second to go on a tangent, calling Tyson a "sociopathic rapist" so...not a Tyson fan I guess. In the main event, Shawn Michaels beat Undertaker in a casket match to retain the title. Kane came out, eventually put Undertaker in the casket and set it on fire, which was diminished some because a lot of fans in the arena saw Undertaker slip out of the side door of the casket before it happened. One final note from that match, quoting Dave: "Michaels took one incredible bump early taking a backdrop over the top rope and cracking his lower back on the casket as he went over. He was really lucky he wasn't hurt on that one." Umm, about that.

- Dave finally got a tape of the Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show and reviews it. The 5 Riki Choshu retirement matches were crap and he compiles them all together and rates them a DUD. But it was emotional and Choshu got a huge reaction from the crowd and was in tears backstage. Ultimo Dragon vs. Shinjiro Otani stole the show. Shinya Hashimoto vs. Dennis Lane ended abruptly when Lane legit broke his kneecap and the match was stopped.

- AAA President Antonio Pena has apparently sued Konnan for defamation of character. Dave doesn't specify, but just says to add it to the list of ongoing lawsuits Pena is involved in.

- Steve Williams is out with a back injury and it must be bad because AJPW wrestlers generally don't miss shows due to injury unless it's serious. For example...

- Akira Taue *almost* missed a recent AJPW show due to a massive snowstorm. He apparently missed the bus that all the other wrestlers travel on and had to drive himself to the show. 10 hours away. The snow chains on his tires had also broken. So Taue drove 10 hours to make it to the show and arrived just before the main event that he was booked for. He changed quickly, ran out and did his match, and then had to get back in the car and drive 10 hours back home.

- NJPW is attempting to get several of their older wrestlers to step down and retire. The names being thrown around are Tatsumi Fujinami (44), Junji Hirata (41), Masa Saito (55), Osamu Kido (47) and Kengo Kimura (44). Reportedly, NJPW offered to pay all of them their full salary for the next 3 years if they agree to retire this year.

- Great Sasuke needs major knee surgery, so he's been doing an angle where people "injure" his knee to write him out. But he's done it in a couple of different places. First he did it in ECW, where Justin Credible destroyed his knee to help get Credible over. Then he went back to Japan and did the same angle with Dick Togo and Sho Funaki in Michinoku Pro. Sasuke is expected to be out several months after he gets the surgery.

- Stevie Richards' neck is healing faster than expected but he also suffered some vocal cord damage during the surgery that may require an additional surgery (in case you ever wondered why his voice is so raspy, there ya go).

- ECW is putting together Paul Diamond, Roadkill, Danny Doring, and valet Chastity together as a heel group. Doring is the new name of prelim wrestler Danny Morrison. The gimmick is he will wrestle intentionally boring matches and when the crowd chants "boring!" he'll act like they're chanting for him because he thinks they're saying "Doring!"

- Paul Heyman put up a note at recent shows encouraging all the wrestlers to go train in the ring before shows and said raises in 1998 would be based on people improving their in-ring skills. He also asked everyone to leave the backstage areas at the arenas cleaner, but nobody really paid attention to that request.

- Hulk Hogan has not yet signed a new WCW contract and is currently a free agent, which obviously gives him a ton of negotiating leverage. WWF still denies that they've even spoken to him and WCW doesn't seem to believe he's leaving, but at this moment, Hogan could show up on Raw next week if he wanted to so you gotta figure WCW is desperate to get him to re-sign ASAP.

- In other contract notes, The Giant's contract expires in March and WWF is very interested. There have been rumors of Randy Savage jumping ship but he's under WCW contract until the end of 1998 so no truth to that at all.

- Davey Boy Smith was backstage at Nitro but not shown on TV. There has been some complications as far as getting his official release from WWF so until that goes through, he won't be seen in WCW. With Bret, Davey Boy, and Neidhart all in WCW now, they can team up but WWF still owns the rights to the name Hart Foundation so they can't use that. Brian Adams (formerly Crush in WWF) was also backstage and is expected to start with WCW soon.

- Curt Hennig is out with a knee injury that may require surgery. Meanwhile, Rick Rude is also off TV but Dave isn't sure why. It may be related to the bar brawl incident a few weeks ago.

- Juanita McMahon, the 2nd wife of Vince McMahon Sr. passed away last week from liver cancer at age 81. Vince Jr. was actually the product of a previous marriage so this was his step-mom.

- Indie wrestler Christipher Daniels got a tryout match before the recent Raw taping. So did APW wrestlers Vic Grimes and Erin O'Grady (Crash Holly) and word is they had a great match, with O'Grady in particular looking great. Black Phantom also got a tryout (later became Gangrel).

- WWF is sending Adam Copeland to Japan to work some shows for Tokyo Pro Wrestling. The company reportedly believes Copeland and Sean Morley are both going to be major stars and will both be getting a big push when they debut on TV. They also like Matt Bloom, who is a big guy who moves well for his size.

- Shawn Michaels got into an altercation with a fan at a house show in Los Angeles. Reportedly Michaels spit in the fan's face, and then the fan spit back at Shawn, which led to the fan being removed. It just adds to the ever growing list of complaints about Michaels' behavior.

- Word is morale in the WWF locker room is pretty low, with people saying the scars from the Montreal incident haven't healed. Basically, nobody in the locker room trusts management anymore after what Vince McMahon (and presumably several other people) did to Bret Hart. WCW morale isn't that great either because the mid-carders feel that there's no upward mobility there. In WWF, there's always the belief that if you work hard and get over, you can move up the card. In WCW, there's a ceiling and unless you're Hogan or someone Hogan approves of, you don't move up no matter what.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post

- We start with the latest on the Mike Tyson/WWF situation. It appears the plan all along has been for Tyson to be a special referee for the Austin/Michaels main event at Wrestlemania. But WWF didn't want to just announce Tyson as the referee because that's boring. So they've started a big elaborate angle with the Tyson/Austin confrontation a couple weeks ago that will hopefully get people interested and eventually end with Tyson as the referee. So far, so good because the angle is still garnering huge news coverage around the world. Tyson has resumed training for a boxing comeback which is his top priority but WWF is trying to get him to appear on as many shows as they can. Dave lists the different episodes of Raw he's scheduled to appear on. He won't be on this week's Raw from Indianapolis because he didn't want to go back to that city (it's where his rape trial was held). The idea seems to be to hype up an Austin/Tyson match and then make it look as if the Nevada State Athletic Commission won't allow Tyson to face him (even though they've openly said they have no problem with it) and then Tyson will instead become a referee and eventually leave as a babyface. The overall goal (at least for Tyson and Don King) is to rehabilitate Tyson's public image following the rape conviction and the suspension for biting Holyfield's ear in a fight. The hope is that it will help Tyson be reinstated for boxing. Dave personally thinks Tyson deserves to be suspended for a lot longer than 1 year for what he did in the Holyfield fight, but he also realizes that there's way too much money at stake for PPV providers (who will likely pressure the commission to reinstate him), so it's probably already a sure thing that Tyson will be reinstated either way.

- As for Tyson's impact on ratings and buyrates, he had an effect, but not a lasting one. WWF's Royal Rumble drew the biggest PPV buyrate for a WWF show since Wrestlemania 12 almost 2 years ago, around 300,000 buys, some of which can probably be attributed to Tyson being advertised to appear at the show. The episode of Raw with the Tyson/Austin angle also did its highest rating since the Monday night wars began, drawing a 4.0 rating. It still wasn't enough to beat Nitro (4.4) but WWF is definitely closing the gap. But it has led to some in WCW being cocky, openly saying that if WWF had to bring out Mike Tyson and still couldn't beat Nitro, they'll never be able to. Sure enough, even after all the mainstream publicity, this week's Raw dropped down to pre-Tyson levels. So as great as the angle with Austin was, it didn't translate into ratings the next week.

- WCW Souled Out is in the books and was probably the best WCW PPV in months. The show was at a 5000 seat arena that sold out in 4 hours after tickets went on sale a month ago and shows that WCW has completely outgrown arenas of that size. The show featured Dusty Rhodes turning heel after almost an entire career of being a babyface. Dave thinks it was smart because it gets him out of the broadcast booth (where he's arguably the worst in the business). Randy Savage was upset, claiming the Hart/Flair match had lasted too long and cut into his main event time. Most people backstage thought Hart/Flair should have headlined anyway.

- Other notes from the PPV: the opening 8-man Lucha match stole the show. Rey Misterio Jr. dropped the cruiserweight title to Chris Jericho because he needs reconstructive knee surgery and will be getting it done this week. So this was his last match before he's out for around 6 months. The crowd pretty much turned on Larry Zbyszko during his match with Scott Hall. In the Kevin Nash/Giant match, Nash gave him a jackknife and dropped Giant dangerously on his head and neck. It looked scary but he was totally fine backstage afterward. But since it looked so good, they're turning it into an angle. Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair was a great match and especially incredible since Flair is almost 49 years old.

- The WAR promotion in Japan announced this week that they will be ceasing operations. The company began in 1992 and Dave recaps the history of the company, basically an obituary for a promotion. Some of the major stars, like Genichiro Tenryu, will surely end up in other promotions, but a lot of their roster probably can't cut it in the major companies and Dave suspects a few of them will probably just disappear from the business entirely. The news of WAR folding comes on the heels of both All Japan Women and Michinoku Pro having major financial trouble, and UWFI folded at the end of 1996. There's several more groups that are also hanging on by a thread, particularly Kingdom. It hasn't been a good year for the smaller indie promotions in Japan.

- Mexican star Pierroth Jr. had been working for WWC in Puerto Rico up until last week. Pierroth Jr. had worked his way up the promotion and was the top main event heel for WWC but then he was deported for not having the proper papers to work in the country. They're trying to work it out, saying it was a misunderstanding but the process is moving slow and has forced WWC to change booking.

- EMLL and Promo Azteca met and worked out an agreement to stop raiding each other's wrestlers. We'll see how long that lasts.

- In response to the lawsuit filed against Konnan by Antonio Pena for defamation of character, Konnan has created a new character in Promo Azteca that is a parody of Pena. It's a fat hunchback heel who eats dog food.

- Promo Azteca/WCW wrestler Psicosis (the real one) cut a shoot promo towards Psicosis (the fake AAA one) telling fans who the fake one really was and told fans not to be fooled by imitations. Antonio Pena believes he owns the rights to the Psicosis gimmick so when the real one left, he just created a new one.

- AJPW's Giant Baba and Johnny Ace met with WWF's Bruce Prichard and Jerry Brisco this week to negotiate having WWF stars appear at AJPW's Tokyo Dome show in May. The meeting ended with nothing even close to agreed on. Baba told the media the next day that the 2 sides couldn't agree on financial terms. But negotiations are expected to continue because AJPW wants Undertaker, Vader, and Ken Shamrock on their big show and reportedly WWF is very interested in bringing in Kenta Kobashi. But that will be difficult because Kobashi is needed full-time in AJPW.

- Despite being such a legendary figure in wrestling history, there wasn't as much coverage of Bobo Brazil's death as Dave would have expected. It got some coverage in the Michigan area where he was the biggest star and it also made news in some places Japan. WWF had a graphic at the beginning of Raw for him. But that's mostly it.

- Dave says the Coca-Cola commercial with Yokozuna is now running on TV. I still can't find video of this. He also says Yokozuna has just filmed a commerc............and that's it. The line cuts off there. So evidently he filmed another commercial. Or maybe Dave dropped dead in mid-sentence and the Dave Meltzer we've had since 1998 is a different guy working under a Meltzer mask. Who's to say really?

- Oh shit! After 4 unrelated paragraphs of other news, he finishes the line! "-ial for Waffle House." Damn, I can't find that one either.

- Shane Douglas pleaded not guilty to assault charges stemming from an ECW incident back in October. Douglas was accused of assaulting a 16-year-old female fan. She testified at a hearing that Douglas attacked her after she blew cigarette smoke towards him. She says Douglas turned and spit in her face, so she spit back at him so then he punched her in the ribs and grazed her with a punch to the face. Douglas denies it and his attorney says the 16-year-old was actually the attacker and that she had punched Francine as they were walking down the aisle. The case looks as if it will go to trial.

- Tommy Dreamer and Beulah missed a couple of ECW shows this weekend due to Dreamer's grandfather being in poor health.

- Eric Kulas' family will be in court this week, attempting to get the decision overturned that prevents them from pressing criminal charges against New Jack. The family hasn't filed a lawsuit against ECW yet but they pressed charges against New Jack, only for the court to decide they wouldn't prosecute. Heyman has reportedly offered the family a financial settlement to cover all medical expenses, but they turned him down.

- Recent WWF-signee Darren Drozdov debuted in ECW this week, as part of the Danny Doring/Paul Diamond/Roadkill group. He's been sent there by WWF to get some more experience before they debut him.

- Sandman is still dealing with some serious back issues and may be kept off ECW's next PPV if he's not able to go by then. He's still been trying to work shows, but the matches are horrible and Heyman doesn't want Sandman to go out and have a stinker on PPV.

- In WCW, Dave says Louie Spiccoli has pretty much been given the gimmick of being Scott Hall's flunky and says that's basically Spicolli's real life role on the road anyway (sadly, he'll be dead within 2 weeks).

- The Nitro Girls were on Regis & Kathy Lee this past week. When talking to Kimberly, Regis acknowledged her husband in the audience, who he called "Diamond Dan." Dave also talks about the newest tall brunette Nitro Girl and says she's not a good dancer. Then he throws some political humor in there, saying there's no truth that she was recommended for the job by Vernon Jordan or that she got the job by sleeping with the President (these are both referencing the Monica Lewinsky scandal that was unfolding at the time, for you younger readers). Anyway, fun fact, the Nitro Girl Dave is referring to was Whisper, who later went on to marry Shawn Michaels and get punched in the face by Jericho.

- The Giant has a role in the new Adam Sandler movie The Waterboy.

- In an online chat, Konnan expressed frustration with WCW, saying that the company isn't interested in pushing the Mexicans and said that when their contracts run out, he expects they'll all probably try to jump ship to WWF. I'm sure those comments will go over well....

- The new issue of Mad Magazine has wrestlers on the cover and the piece inside was written by Desmond Devlin, who is an actual wrestling fan and Observer reader so the jokes inside are spot on. Dave thinks it's hilarious:


- Jesse Ventura has gotten some heat for comments he made on a radio show when he thought the mics were turned off. He referred to Iranians as "towel heads" and when the story made news, he has since refused to apologize for it. Ventura also has gotten major heat with Hulk Hogan. If you recall, there's still a lawsuit pending in Minneapolis where a woman claims Hogan sexually assaulted her. Well, Ventura had the woman's lawyer on his radio show to talk about the case. As you can imagine, Hogan is none too pleased and has said that he has long forgiven all of his past enemies but says he'll never forgive Ventura (keep this in mind a year from now when Hogan is verbally fellating Ventura in the media after he becomes governor).

- Shawn Michaels was out of action this week with a back injury suffered in the Undertaker match at Royal Rumble. There was a spot where he went over the top rope and his lower back hit the edge of the casket. The back stiffened up on him so he's missed a few shows, but they're hopeful he'll be back soon, although it's day-to-day right now (or, yanno, year-to-year).

- Vader was also injured this week when his head was too low for a Kane tombstone. It drove his head and neck into the mat and was said to be a scary injury. Vader's neck is reportedly injured from it. To make matters worse, Vader has a small metal plate in his face near one of his eyes, due to an injury years ago in Japan (the famous eyeball match with Stan Hansen). The plate was dislodged during the tombstone spot. He's expected to be out for about a month and will need surgery to move the plate back in place.

- There's talk of doing a Butterbean vs. Marc Mero match at Wrestlemania. Butterbean is contracted for one more WWF appearance, but they may hold off on using him until after Wrestlemania (it would be another year before Butterbean showed up and knocked Bart Gunn into obscurity).

- Dan Severn will be billed as the NWA champion and managed by Jim Cornette when he starts with WWF soon. Dave thinks it's a bad idea since the NWA angle right now is basically death, plus Severn isn't exactly dripping with charisma. He thinks they should bring Severn in and try to get him over the same way WCW is getting Bill Goldberg over, by having him come in and silently destroy people with intense power moves.

- A new TV network called PaxNet, which specializes in family programming, has signed a deal with WWF to air a new syndicated WWF show on Saturday mornings. The network airs in 56 major markets on weak UHF stations that don't do much of a rating on their own. Having WWF is a huge coup for them because it's sure to draw ratings for the fledgling network. But it's funny because WWF is the complete opposite of "family programming" these days. In fact, Dave thinks it's surprising how little backlash WWF has gotten over their new direction. But the ratings are good so that's all anyone cares about (turns out this isn't a real show, just paid infomercials for Wrestlemania).

- At a house show in Hartford, HHH did ring introductions since he's still injured. He got on the mic and started doing a Michael Buffer imitation and then said, "Are you ready? Are you ready? For the thousands in attendance and the millions not watching on television because there are no cameras, let's get ready to suck it!" (I assume this is the first time he did this bit). He also forgot the team name for Billy Gunn and Jesse James and had to ask them which was even funnier.

- One Man Gang is expected to get a tryout at the next WWF tapings. He's reportedly lost a lot of weight and was a good big man worker back in the 80s but his style of wrestling is sort of passe these days.

- Someone writes in and suggests that at Wrestlemania, WWF should send Ken Shamrock out to the ring and have him shoot on Tyson and beat him up, thus making Shamrock the biggest star in the biz. Dave says there's 0% chance of that happening.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post
Good thing I had all this typed up last night because I knew I was gonna be rushing with WM tickets
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post

- It must be a slow news week because the big story is Dave just breaking down business numbers. In 1997, both WWF and WCW did their highest attendance numbers in over 6 years. WWF attendance increased almost 20% over 1996 numbers and showed substantial ratings increases as 1997 ended and it's clearly a boom period for the company. WCW of course had an even better year with its attendance increasing by over 59% from 1996 (which itself was a 56% increase over 1995). WCW has grown at a much faster rate and is beating WWF in everything but attendance at this point, but Dave expects they'll probably pass WWF in that regard in 1998 as well. WWF averaged around $94,000 per show at the gate while WCW averaged about $87,000 (a 113% increase over their 1996 average). To put it in perspective, a few years ago, doing $100k at the gate for a house show would be considered a very good. Now that's basically the average for every show.

- TV ratings are an interesting beast. It's been proven repeatedly that there's no correlation between TV ratings and live attendance, even though logic would say that there should be. But for example, while WWF attendance in 1997 was the best in the last 6 years, their TV ratings were the 2nd lowest they've done in that same 6 years. As for WCW, while they're doing good ratings for Nitro, they used to do about the same rating for the non-prime time TBS weekend shows (often doing 4.0 ratings) and back then, attendance was in the gutter (they were averaging less than 1000 fans per show). Both companies have raised their ticket prices and even though it goes against all economic sense, the reality is that the higher the ticket prices go, more fans keep buying them, which has been a big part of the reason both companies keep setting gate records for shows. The same goes for PPV prices, which have gradually been increasing, and it somehow leads to more people buying them. When prices are slashed (like when Kip Frey lowered WCW ticket prices in 1992 or WWF experimented with "budget" PPVs with the In Your House shows), it leads to less people buying. The theory is that the more expensive the event is, the more its seen as a luxury or status thing and people will pay for it. If you offer them a $5 ticket or $15 PPV, they see it as cheap and not worth it. Anyway, it's all really interesting stuff. Dave plans to take a similar look at NJPW and AJPW business numbers next week.

- As of press time, TCI Cable has not agreed to carry WWF's upcoming Wrestlemania PPV. TCI is the largest cable conglomerate in the U.S. and they seem to be trying to "protect" the sport of boxing and won't agree to carry Wrestlemania until they know what Mike Tyson's role in the show will be and until they get assurances from the Nevada State Athletic Commission that it won't affect Tyson's boxing reinstatement. Dave says it sounds serious, but there's way too much money at stake for TCI and WWF not to work this out so he's confident it'll be settled.

- Dave sarcastically says that Shawn Michaels is scheduled to drop the title at Wrestlemania so, of course, an injury has suddenly popped up. After taking a backdrop on the edge of the casket at Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels has been out of action claiming a lower back injury. Michaels doctors have sent word to WWF that he's suffering from a litany of injuries: a bruised kidney, a slightly separated shoulder, both hips out of alignment, a sprained foot, issues with vertebrae in his back, not to mention a worsening of his chronic knee problems. Dave thinks it would be a good idea to keep Shawn out of the ring until Wrestlemania so that he can't come up with another excuse to avoid dropping a title. Shawn was scheduled to face Owen Hart at house shows but those have been changed.

- Nobuhiko Takada will have a rematch against Rickson Gracie in October, a year to the day of their first shoot fight last year. Last year's fight drew 40,000 people to the Tokyo Dome to see Gracie easily take out Takada in less than 5 minutes which was no surprise since Takada is a pro wrestler with a manufactured shoot-fight reputation despite never having actually competed in one. And Rickson Gracie is considered the best fighter in the world. There's still been talk in UFC of doing the Takada vs. Ken Shamrock match (which was advertised for a couple months ago but fell through due to Takada being injured). But if Takada is hoping to draw a big crowd for the Rickson Gracie match in October, he'd be foolish to risk fighting Shamrock before then, since Shamrock is likely to destroy him just as easily as Gracie did which would hurt his drawing power even more. Most likely, Takada will face some jobber between now and then, someone he can easily beat in order to build up for the Gracie fight.

- A WCW house show in Boston drew the largest crowd and gate in company history for a non-televised show. There were almost 19,000 in attendance for a gate of over $325,000. It's the same arena WWF will be holding Wrestlemania at in 2 months. Two nights later, they did it again at the Alamodome in San Antonio, drawing 21,000+ fans and a $445,000+ gate. They also destroyed all the previous records for merchandise sold, bringing in nearly a quarter of a million on merch sales also. In the Hogan vs. Sting main event, Hogan actually got more cheers than Sting, but Flair, Hart, Hall, and Nash were all cheered bigger than both of them.

- ECW ran a pretty tasteless angle to set up a Tommy Dreamer/Justin Credible feud. They had a 10 bell salute for Tommy Dreamer's grandfather who just recently passed away (which is true, he really did) and around the 7th bell, Credible came out and interrupted, cutting a promo and saying he was sorry Dreamer's worthless grandfather died instead of him. Dave goes into the long history of promoters using real-life deaths to sell tickets (Fritz Von Erich, Mike Graham, and of course, Vince McMahon, who not only milked an interview with Brian Pillman's wife for ratings, but used the entire Gulf War as the backdrop for an angle).

- Dave talks about Sen. John McCain recently getting a sold out amateur MMA show in Phoenix shut down just hours before it was scheduled to start which leads Dave on a long rant about the repeated issues the sport is facing.

- Kenta Kobashi is reportedly interested in going to WWF during the summer and working a storyline with Vader.

- The latest on WWF's involvement in AJPW's Tokyo Dome show is that WWF was asking for $1 million as a package deal in order for AJPW to use all of WWF's top talent on the show. But AJPW is only interested in 2 or 3 guys (Undertaker, Vader, and Shamrock) and were offering WWF $50,000 each for them. Negotiations are still ongoing.

- Jerry Lawler is reportedly in discussions about starting a new promotion based in Memphis and trying to get his WMC TV deal back that they lost when USWA closed.

- A guy named Bob Barnett has wrestling videos for sale from around the world and can be contacted at japbob@beachnet.com

- Dave's review of this week's Nitro is full of snark and sarcasm. He just shits on it left and right, goes off on mini-tangents about the announcers, Nash, Goldberg, Bulldog, the nonsensical booking, etc. (this becomes a recurring theme during 1998 as WCW's TV quality begins to circle the toilet).

- WCW had house shows in Texas last week that were supposed to be headlined by Flair vs. Hennig but then Hennig had to get his knee scoped and missed the shows. The original idea was to have Bret Hart replace him, but Bischoff vetoed it because he feels Hart should be treated the same as Hogan. And Bischoff said he'd never send Hogan to work in Abilene or Midland, TX as a fill-in for a match, so he wouldn't send Bret either. So it ended up being Flair vs. Bulldog.

- WCW's Souled Out PPV is looking to be the biggest money show in company history that didn't involve Hogan and looks to have done better than WWF's Royal Rumble.

- Goldberg faced Meng on WCW Saturday Night tapings and it was a bad match because Goldberg got blown up a few minutes into it and it got dangerous. At 2 different points in the match, Goldberg dropped both Meng and Jimmy Hart on their heads. Luckily neither was hurt but Meng was pretty annoyed about it afterwards, as you could imagine.

- WCW has 31 house shows booked for the month of May without a single day off the entire month. Dave expects injury and divorce rates to skyrocket.

- A guy who attended an ECW show in Revere, MA writes in about an incident he had with New Jack (man, New Jack really doesn't do well in Revere). The guy says he and his fiance attended the show and his fiance was talking to a security guard that she knew near the curtain when New Jack poked his head out and told her to come see him after the next match. The girl naturally didn't go back and so after the next match, New Jack came out to where they were in the crowd and asked if she wanted to get together after the show. The guy stepped in and informed New Jack that she was his fiance. New Jack then started verbally assaulting the guy, calling him a bitch and a white boy. It nearly led to a physical altercation until security stepped in and tried to throw the guy and his girlfriend out. The guy refused to leave and when they got the full story, they realized New Jack was the one at fault, so they were allowed to stay. As he was leaving, New Jack yelled "You know who she really wants!" which pissed off his fiance so much that even she had to be restrained from going after New Jack. The head of security later apparently apologized to them and acted like this is just typical New Jack.

- On Raw, they did an angle that started out great but got watered down and stupid as the show went on. The New Age Outlaws put Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie into a dumpster and pushed it off the stage. It got lots of heat and everyone from the wrestlers to the announcers played their role perfectly. But then they kept the storyline of it going for the rest of the episode, concluding with Chainsaw Charlie in his underwear and a hospital robe and Jack still hooked to an IV doing a run-in to end the show.

- Sunny recently did a photoshoot for the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine (I can't find anything about this).

- Ahmed Johnson was hospitalized llst week after collapsing on an airplane in Indianapolis due to dehydration (this is pretty much the end of the road for Ahmed in WWF. His last appearance is at the next PPV and then he's gone).
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

japbob@beachnet.com is about to get a bunch of dumb emails as soon as this hits reddit.
[Image: Chaos.png]

[+] 2 users Like Ceallach's post

- The question of Mike Tyson's role at Wrestlemania has been answered at the Wrestlemania press conference, with Vince McMahon stating Tyson will be an outside-the-ring "enforcer", essentially a second referee, for the Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin match (they don't want to use him as an in-ring ref due to his inexperience and concern that he might get in the way of spots). The conference got massive mainstream media coverage, which was helped by the timing since Tyson has reportedly split with his longtime manager Don King over money which has been a big story in and of itself this week. None of the press was positive, with most of it being along the lines of "look how far Tyson has fallen to degrade himself by doing pro wrestling" but WWF expected that going in. It got a lot of promotion for Wrestlemania which is what the company cares about, but for fans, it's been seen as a disappointment. Coming off the Tyson/Austin angle on Raw a few weeks ago, wrestling fans were hoping for something more than just a guest referee gig. Despite speculation, apparently this was always the plan and the Austin angle was only meant to generate publicity, it was never planned to lead to a match. As a follow up to last week's story, TCI Cable has now agreed to carry Wrestlemania now that they know what Tyson's role is.

- As for what Tyson's making, word is it's somewhere in the $3.5-to-$4 million range which Dave has estimated they would need to do a 2.0 buyrate to make it worth the money on a strictly financial level. But the exposure to Austin and Michaels, the ratings benefits, etc. also have to be factored in. Word is Don King got $300,000 of that money, which is said to be the catalyst for their split, with Tyson claiming Don King has left him practically bankrupt. Dave talks about how WCW had negotiated with Tyson but couldn't work out a deal and says that even if they had, Turner execs probably would have nixed it due to all the bad publicity, but Vince relishes in it. He also mentions that WCW tried to get Evander Holyfield to referee the Hogan/Sting match at Starrcade, but negotiations went nowhere. He talks about other paydays for previous celebs in wrestling (Lawrence Taylor, Dennis Rodman, etc.). From here, he tells details of the Tyson/King split, about rumors that Tyson found out King got $300,000 of his WM money that he wasn't aware of and how Tyson allegedly roughed up King (which Tyson denied when asked at the press conference). The press conference also got sidetracked by Stuttering John from the Howard Stern show asking questions like "Are you the first convicted rapist to appear at Wrestlemania?" Dave also mentions that Vince's son Shane McMahon has become a close confidant of Tyson, basically his guy in WWF that he deals with.

- Dave talks about the upcoming WM14 card. Undertaker vs. Kane is obvious but hasn't been announced yet. The idea for Marc Mero vs. Butterbean was postponed because they didn't want another boxer on the show that already features Tyson. Shawn Michaels is being kept out of the ring until the show to heal up from his various injuries. Pete Rose will appear on the show but Dave doesn't know in what capacity.

- We're not done with boxing yet. NJPW has announced that Muhammad Ali will be appearing at the Apr. 4th Tokyo Dome show for Anontio Inoki's retirement match. It's believed NJPW is bringing in many of Inoki's most famous opponents, with names like Dory Funk, Lou Thesz, Karl Gotch and more all rumored to appear. This leads Dave to recap the famous Inoki vs. Ali match from 1976, which ended up being a shoot and Ali ended up hospitalized after with leg injuries. It was a terrible match, but it arguably paved the way for the MMA boom of today. NJPW will be holding a tournament to determine Inoki's opponent for his final match.

- WCW Nitro did it's 2nd highest rating ever this week, with a 4.93 rating. Internally, they're trying to break the 5.0 mark which is why they threw their biggest money match at the moment (Hogan vs. Savage) on the show, but competition from the Olympics prevented them from hitting the mark this week. But 5.0 is the unofficial goal.

- AJPW's Johnny Ace worked a dark match at the latest WWF tapings. Really, he was mostly in America to meet with WWF on behalf of AJPW, as the two sides are still trying to work out a deal to have WWF stars work the upcoming AJPW Tokyo Dome show. There's some disagreement because AJPW's side insists that Japanese fans only care about a couple of WWF stars (Shamrock and Vader mostly) so they aren't willing to pay as much as WWF is asking. But when Bruce Prichard and Jerry Brisco were in Japan a couple of weeks ago, they saw Austin on the cover of all the wrestling magazines and seem to have an inflated sense of how popular WWF is in Japan. The reality is Austin was only on the cover due to the Tyson angle (Tyson is huge in Japan) and WWF TV is only broadcast on a small satellite station that reaches a tiny fraction of Japanese fans. Giant Baba was also upset that he represented AJPW in the initial negotiations but that Vince McMahon sent Prichard and Brisco on his behalf instead of meeting with Baba personally. Basically, it comes down to the fact that nether side understands the culture of the other and both sides feel insulted by the other.

- Speaking of, Dave tries to explain how and why TV is different in Japan than in America and how that affects wrestling. Due to various zoning laws, cable TV doesn't really exist in Japan the way it does in the U.S. They mostly have satellite providers. He goes into some more detail on this while explaining that this is why TV isn't really that big of a deal in Japan for the wrestling promotions. It helps, of course, but they draw people to their shows based on print media more than anything, whereas in the U.S., it's the opposite.

- An 400-pound indie wrestler named William "Tiny" Kinney made news in Summit Hill, PA after getting arrested for going on a naked rampage. He stripped his clothes off, smashed his way into a neighbor's house through a window and then left and began running through the streets. When the cops tried to catch him, he ran away, still naked and bleeding, screaming about wanting to live forever and then screaming about wanting to die. He was eventually arrested and taken to a mental hospital (I googled this guy. He ends up getting arrested again a few months later which makes national news because it gets covered on Howard Stern. And then he ended up committing suicide by hanging in 2000).

- A Memphis judge has ordered Mark Selker to provide more evidence in his fraud lawsuit against Jerry Lawler or else the lawsuit will be thrown out. He has until early March to provide it.

- Dennis Coraluzzo is doing another Eddie Gilbert tribute show in Philadelpia in a couple of weeks. Jim Cornette has issued a challenge to Paul Heyman for the show, saying that if Heyman shows up and fights him in a shoot and actually beats him, he'll kiss Heyman's feet. Classic Cornette. Obviously, Heyman won't be appearing at a Dennis Coraluzzo show to answer a bullshit grandstand challenge that doesn't benefit him or ECW in any way.

- Jesse Ventura is considering running for governor of Minnesota later this year as part of the Reform Party.

- Stan Lane (of the Fabulous Ones) did an interview recently and said he's retired from wrestling. When asked about returning to WWF to take part in their current NWA angle with Jim Cornette, Lane said he left WWF years ago on bad terms and didn't think Vince would want him back even if he wanted to go. He criticized the current WWF product and said it wasn't suitable for kids and said he'll never wrestle again (spoiler: he wrestled again).

- Dave reviews Nitro and actually has glowing praise for Louie Spicolli, saying he's been really entertaining in his current role as Scott Hall's lackey who keeps messing with Larry Zbyszko and says he was hilarious while doing commentary. Which is a bummer because we'll be covering his obituary on Wednesday.

- The same Nitro also featured the infamous Goldberg vs. Steven Regal match. Dave says Goldberg is over but his matches have to be kept short because he was totally overexposed here, going 5 minutes with Regal. Dave doesn't say much about it other than that there was some heat on Regal (who has legit shooting experience) because some people thought he was shooting and intentionally trying to expose Goldberg. But Dave says Regal was just wrestling a match and that Goldberg only has 3 moves and after he's used them, he gets totally lost. Eh, I dunno about that Dave...Regal definitely wasn't doing him any favors in this match but hey, you be the judge.

- Ric Flair was scheduled to appear on last week's episode of Thunder but due to some apparent miscommunication, he wasn't there. He was also supposed to be on Nitro but WCW had already booked him to make corporate appearances in New York on those days, so it was a situation where the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing, which is becoming more and more common in WCW. Contrary to earlier reports, Flair hasn't actually signed a new deal with WCW although he has verbally agreed to it. But with Flair being off TV the last couple of weeks, it has led to rumors that he may be heading to WWF after all, but that's almost certainly not happening. WWF capitalized on the rumors on their 900 line though, talking about a former NWA champion who may be joining Jim Cornette's NWA stable and hinted that it would be Flair. But it's actually Dory Funk, who is under WWF contract as a trainer.

- Kevin Greene was cut by the San Francisco 49ers this week so don't be surprised if he ends up wrestling in WCW again. His NFL contract didn't allow him to do any wrestling.

- The Steiners were wearing the WCW tag titles at the WCW Saturday Night tapings a couple of weeks ago, which pretty much spoiled the fact that they would be winning them on Nitro 2 weeks later. And so they did.

- The reason they wrote Undertaker off TV during this Kane angle was partly to give him time to heal up from various injuries and also because his father is in poor health and he wanted to spend time with him while he could (his dad actually lived until 2003).

- Dave talks about Sable's breast implant surgeries and mentions that a CBS show segment apparently called her the "world's most dangerous boob job." He recaps the angle on Raw where Sable slapped Luna and then stormed off, "probably to get another breast enlargement. I think it's something like the old nuclear arms race where we all have enough bombs to blow up the world 15 times but we still keep building more bombs," Dave says. At the end of the Raw recap, he calls it a flat show and then says "maybe that isn't the right word to use with Implantmania runnin' wild." Dave Meltzer, ladies and gentlemen: not a fan of fake tits.

- Bobby Duncam Jr., Johnny Ace and One Man Gang all got tryouts at the recent Raw tapings and none of them looked great. Ace could only work part-time anyway since he's not giving up his AJPW commitments and he was really only there to negotiate with WWF on behalf of AJPW. There's still talk of maybe bringing in Kobashi for a brief WWF run but the discussion hasn't led anywhere yet.

- Vader is expected to get eye surgery soon to fix the injury suffered from the Kane tombstone last week and will be out for around 6 weeks, so it's likely he may miss Wrestlemania (yup. They do an injury angle at the Feb. PPV to write him off TV for a couple of months).

- Lots of interesting letters this week. Someone writes in and says that there's a column in this month's WWF Magazine that has a reference to Dave and the Observer and is, "to say the least, highly critical." Dave responds, saying that the column is by Vic Venom, which is the pen name for Vince Russo, "a former fourth-rate newsletter writer" who works for WWF and actually has some creative input on angles and interviews and Dave gives him some credit for actually moving up the WWF corporate ladder further than he probably deserves. As for what Russo wrote about him, Dave says "the story itself was written so poorly, I'd rank it right on the same level as the newsletter articles I wrote when I was 13 years old. Actually worse, because I can still make sense out of what I wrote in those days and I didn't have to use fake swear words back then to get attention." (every Russo article is full of #$!% in place of curse words). Anyway, I can't find the article that Russo wrote but apparently it was about Bret Hart and the screwjob and he took some shots at Dave, which Dave pretty much brushes off.

- Someone else writes in and says Steve Austin is boring and all he does is say "damn" and "ass" every 5 seconds. He says Bill Goldberg is just as over as Austin. Dave responds, saying Goldberg gets good crowd pops, but "being over is drawing money" and that Austin is the biggest main event draw in the WWF right now and Goldberg is still only squashing jobbers in opening matches. He says Goldberg may be a superstar one day and WCW is doing a great job of building him, but as it stands right now, it's not even close. He also disputes the idea that Goldberg even gets the same crowd pops than Austin (not yet but he would soon).

- Someone else says DDP and HHH are no-talent bums and that Al Snow and Chris Benoit are way better. He also think Marlena is pregnant which is why she's not around. Dave says she's not pregnant and says he thinks HHH is a better worker than Al Snow.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

Oh, WCW. They hit their goal, and crush it, hitting 6 on August 31. But little did they know in a year WWF would hit 8.1.
[Image: Chaos.png]


- We start this week with the death of Louie Spicolli, who passed away this week from a drug overdose at age 27. He was found dead by a friend who had stayed over at his house that night and who was going to wake him up so he could catch his flight to Nitro. The friend smelled a bad odor and when he opened the door to Spicolli's room, he found him face-down on the floor with vomit everywhere and his body was already swollen and discolored. Spicolli had reportedly taken 26 Somas and washed it down with a lot of wine. His friends had been concerned about his pill usage and actually hid the bottle that night but he apparently searched the house and found it. He had built up an incredible tolerance to Somas, and often took 15 or so at a time without it affecting him and he usually took 25-30 every night to get to sleep. But on this night, the wine greatly multiplied the effects of the Somas. Sadly, most people who knew Spicolli have said they aren't entirely surprised, figured it was only a matter of time because he'd had so many close calls in the past and never stopped (I can't find it now, but I know I've seen a video online in the past that shows Spicolli when he was still in WWF and he's drugged out of his mind in a hotel hallway).

- Dave recaps Spicolli's life and career, saying he was a great high school athlete and had potential to possibly be a professional baseball pitcher, but he loved wrestling more and chose to follow that dream instead. He started as a WWF jobber and eventually was signed and took on the name Rad Radford. In 1996, while working for WWF, he overdosed on Somas (55 of them) and was found face down outside in the rain and was rushed to the hospital and was briefly clinically dead before being revived. When WWF figured out what happened, he was released. Then he went to ECW for a bit but his drug problems were too bad even for ECW and Heyman wanted to get rid of him, but Sabu always vouched for Spicolli and convinced Heyman to keep him. Eventually, Heyman learned that Spicolli had contacted both WWF and WCW and tried to broker a deal where he, Sabu, and RVD would all leave ECW at the same time and jump ship to one of the other companies. According to who you believe, Spicolli then either quit or was fired from ECW. Spicolli started with WCW last summer and soon after, he was again hospitalized for an overdose (something that reportedly happened many other times but he always survived). He tried to kick the drugs but then found out his mother was dying of cancer and he fell off the wagon. He also was stunned to find out how common drug use was in WCW and that made it much harder for him to stay clean. Ironically enough, 5 days before his death on Nitro, he had the breakout performance of his career with a comedy heel act where he did commentary and played a role in the Scott Hall/Larry Zbyszko feud and WCW was talking about doing more with him because he had impressed them so much.

- And now Dave talks at length about the drug problem in wrestling. In the 80s, it was cocaine and in the early-90s, it was steroids. Now the big drug problem is prescription pain killers and sleep aids and given the nature of the business, it's almost unavoidable that these things will be used and abused. Dave isn't sure that there's another sport or entertainment profession with a higher mortality rate than wrestling. Dave talks about the utter lack of drug testing, saying that WWF has only tested 2 wrestlers in recent months, one of which was Brian Pillman who ended up dead a few weeks later. He also says one major WWF star was recently in rehab, but he doesn't name who it is. In WCW's case, Scott Hall was very publicly in rehab last year. They tested a dozen or so undercard wrestlers after Pillman's death and several of them failed, but no one was punished. Dave laments the fact that the death of wrestlers in their prime has basically become routine and the show always just goes on and both sides mostly try to run from it or ignore the problem and hope that the next time it happens, it'll be on someone else's watch. He admits that drug testing isn't a foolproof solution, but not doing anything is even worse.

- Backstage at Nitro, the mood was said to be some sadness and surprise but mostly business as usual. Can't let the death of a prelim wrestler get in the way of a ratings war. There was also some incredibly poor judgement when they acknowledged Spicolli's death on air and Larry Zbyszko (who was feuding with Spicolli at the time of his death) basically stayed in kayfabe character and refused to say anything about Spicolli. Otherwise, WCW didn't acknowledge it beyond that.

- Shawn Michaels has been diagnosed with having 2 herniated discs in his lower back. The timing, of course, has people rolling their eyes and saying it's predictable, since he's scheduled to drop the title to Steve Austin at Wrestlemania. It comes almost a year to the day of his "lost smile" speech where he vacated the WWF title rather than do a job to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13. Since that time, Michaels has won 2 more titles and has avoided doing every job in his path along the way. The current back injury stems from the casket match at Royal Rumble with the Undertaker, where he hit his back on the edge of the casket. Michaels was given cortisone shots and told to stay bedridden for a week, causing him to miss the No Way Out of Texas PPV. He was replaced in the main event 8-man tag match at the last minute by Savio Vega, much to the chagrin of the crowd. He couldn't even travel to the show to make an appearance. He's still expected to work Wrestlemania for now.

- WWF's No Way Out of Texas PPV is in the books. They spent the show teasing the mystery replacement for Shawn Michaels, which of course lead to a collective groan when it ended up being Savio Vega. It mostly amounted to being a good house show, but with no Michaels, Undertaker or Tyson (which they teased), it meant pretty much nothing as far as advancing storylines as we approach Wrestlemania and was about as throwaway as a show can be.

- Other notes from the show: Rocky Maivia had a superstar-level performance in his midcard 10-man tag match. They did an angle to write Vader off TV (Kane hit him with a wrench) because Vader has to get surgery. In the famous match with Stan Hansen years ago when Vader's eyeball popped out of his head, he had to have a metal plate inserted near his eye. That plate was jarred loose in an angle on TV last week and he has to have surgery again to fix it. Savio Vega was heavily booed when they revealed him as Shawn's replacement. In order to appease a crowd they knew would be disappointed, WWF changed the main event to a no-holds-barred garbage match brawl, figuring the fans would enjoy it more than a regular match.

- WWF also aired 2 new commercials for Wrestlemania which were highly misleading. Both focused almost entirely on Mike Tyson and ended with saying Tyson returns to the ring at Wrestlemania, which is obviously meant to give the impression that he will have a boxing or wrestling match there when in reality, he will only be a referee. Tyson also had another meeting with WWF officials this week to discuss future plans from now until Wrestlemania and possibly beyond.

- Johnny Ace met with Paul Heyman last week to discuss having ECW involved in AJPW's upcoming Tokyo Dome show. Heyman asked to have Shane Douglas defend the ECW title in a match against an AJPW star that Douglas would win. He suggested Hiroshi Hase, since he would have no problem doing the job and it wouldn't ruffle any feathers. Heyman also wants the rights to air the match in the U.S. The idea is that Shane Douglas would be shown defending the ECW title in front of 50,000 people against a credible Japanese opponent and winning a good match, and Heyman would then show it on ECW TV. In exchange, Heyman told Ace that he was willing to send as many ECW wrestlers that AJPW wanted and they would put over anyone AJPW wanted. All in all, it was seen as a pretty reasonable offer from Heyman but Dave is skeptical that it'll actually happen (nope, it didn't).

- As mentioned a few weeks ago, NJPW is attempting to weed out the older, over-40 wrestlers by trying to get them to retire. They offered to pay them their full 3-year contracts if they retire this year. So far, Norio Honaga, Masa Saito, and referee Pete Takahashi have accepted the offer and announced immediate retirements.

- Great Sasuke had major knee surgery this week and afterwards, doctors said he should stay out of action for 1 year, but Sasuke is telling people he plans to be back in 6 months. In the meantime, Super Delfin is running Michinoku Pro shows and they're setting up an angle saying that Delfin basically tried to steal the company while Sasuke is gone, thus setting up a storyline for his eventual return.

- WAR in Japan has pretty much released its entire roster from their contracts and will be trying to run shows now by bringing everyone in on cheaper, per-show deals. Not looking good for WAR...

- Sabu and RVD worked shows in Europe this week. Word is Sabu found out about Louie Spicolli's death just as they were leaving Germany and that he was inconsolable and in tears for most of the flight back to the U.S.

- There were rumors that Sid was going to be the replacement for Shawn Michaels in the No Way Out main event. The rumor picked up steam when Sid abruptly cancelled an appearance at an autograph show the same night as the PPV. But turns out it was never even considered and Sid's no-show at the autograph show was just Sid being Sid.

- ECW's next PPV in May will be called Wrestlepalooza and will be in Marietta, GA which is obviously right in WCW's backyard. The decision has nothing to do with WCW though. There's a major cable TV convention in the building the day after the PPV and Heyman is hoping to get some TV execs to come to the ECW PPV and try to get some meetings. Dave says this PPV would probably be a good time to avoid carving each other up and bleeding everywhere.

- Things behind the scenes in WCW are tumultuous to say the least with lots of people unhappy. Dave says it's hard enough to keep more than 100 contracted wrestlers happy even in the best circumstances. But in WCW, there's a glass ceiling and unless you're friends with the top guys like Hogan, Nash, Hall, or Savage, you have no chance of moving up. Ric Flair still hasn't signed his new WCW contract although he's almost certainly not leaving. Flair has actually brought up the idea of retiring to a couple of people and moving into a ambassador-type of role. It's not so much that Flair really wants to retire but he's frustrated because he feels like he's only being used to put over other people despite still getting the best fan-reactions in the company. He's also still better in the ring than most of WCW's top stars and cuts better promos than all of them too, but Bischoff seemingly only sees him as a guy to put over others. And Hulk Hogan also hasn't signed his latest WCW deal and he's milking that for all its worth (as he should, Dave says. It is a business after all). Hogan has used his creative control to essentially leverage the company into focusing on him more than ever. He gets more TV time than anybody (and more than he did a few months ago) and his segments are replayed throughout the shows. It's to the point now where, if Hogan leaves, it would leave a huge hole in the company. Dave says that's not accidental and Hogan pretty much politicked it to be that way. He's no dummy.

- Other midcard discontent in WCW: Eddie Guerrero went to Eric Bischoff and asked for his release but Bischoff refused and actually yelled at him, although he later apologized (this was actually a semi-famous incident because Bischoff allegedly threw his coffee at Guerrero, although Eddie later said he just knocked it off the desk by accident when he was slamming his fist on the desk while yelling. But Guerrero later referenced it in a promo when he poured coffee on himself while asking for his release in an angle. But we'll get there). Guerrero isn't the only one unhappy. Juventud Guerrera is upset about the plan for him to lose his mask against Chris Jericho at the next PPV but he agreed to do it if they played it up as a big angle and built it for a long time so it would mean something. Instead, WCW hot-shotted it and the plan is for it to happen next week, and Guerrera is pissed about it. There's a feeling that Bischoff doesn't respect Mexican wrestling traditions, as he's tried to get both Mysterio and Guerrera to unmask this year with little-to-no build up. Malenko, Guerrero and Chris Benoit are upset at the lack of upward mobility, just having the best showing every week and always getting over but never getting past midcard. They've often been told to be patient and wait their turn, but then they saw Bryan Adams (fresh off being the most boring member of DOA in WWF) debut in WCW last week and immediately get involved in the Bret Hart/Ric Flair/NWO storyline so you can imagine how well that went over. Malenko actually went to Bischoff and asked what his future was in the company and Bischoff told him that he and the others are great workers but they don't put asses in seats. Naturally, word of that got around the locker room and pissed off a lot of guys. The running joke in the locker room is that the only way to become a main eventer in WCW is to go to WWF first, let them make you a star, and then WCW will put you in the main event after they steal you back.

- When reviewing Nitro, Dave says that Booker T isn't the best wrestler in the company but he has a few really cool moves and shows a lot of potential as a possible headliner. He also considers the possibility that Eddie Guerrero might be a slightly better all-around wrestler than Shawn Michaels.

- Various notes from this week's Thunder: "Mortis with that mask making those faces reminded me of my dog at about the same point wanting me to switch stations after watching 400 hours of wrestling every week." They also had a Raven vs. Benoit match that ended in DQ which doesn't make sense because they just did a whole storyline where Raven would refuse to wrestle unless all his matches were no-DQ. But of course, that wasn't even referenced in this match.

- John Tenta worked a tryout match at the latest WWF tapings using his old Earthquake gimmick. He's lost a lot of weight.

- Lots of signs were confiscated at the door of the latest Raw tapings due to lewdness or just things the company didn't like, although some made it past the censors. Dave lists examples like "Rock has no cock" and "Sable 38 : D" and "Bring back Bret."

- Former WCW star Jacqueline was backstage at Raw and will probably be getting a shot in WWF.

- There's been a lawsuit going on between Ultimate Warrior and WWF over the Warrior likeness. This week a judge ruled that Warrior is allowed to use the name "Warrior" and all the characteristics of the character (face paint, arm bands, etc.) in any marketing ventures. But the judge didn't make a decision on "Ultimate Warrior" so that one is still off-limits. This is part of the bigger breach of contract lawsuit between the two sides. Dave explains how there was a rumor of Warrior going to WCW last year, which led to WWF trying to get a restraining order to prevent it from happening (since they believe Warrior should still be beholden to the contract he allegedly breached) but the judge turned it down and it turns out Warrior was never going to WCW anyway and it was just an internet rumor.

- WWF is going to put together a New Midnight Express tag team as part of the ongoing NWA angle, to be managed by Jim Cornette. It will likely end up being Bob Holly and Bart Gunn, although they've discussed making it Adam Copeland and Sean Morley (luckily, it ended up being the first pair. Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart. But holy shit, can you imagine if that spot would have gone to Edge and Val Venis?)

- Apparently on Raw, in reference to Bill Clinton, Jerry Lawler made a joke saying, "Where's Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?" (Holy shit, how did that fly under the radar? He'd be unemployed 5 minutes later if that happened now).
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

Val Venis and Edge woulda schooled it

- Louie Spicolli's funeral took place this week. Sabu and RVD were pall bearers and were also the only names from any of the 3 major promotions to attend. Tommy Dreamer, Beulah and Little Guido attended a wake the previous day. ECW held a 10-bell salute on their show the previous night and several wrestlers did tributes to Spicolli during the show (this is all shown the Network, ECW Hardcore TV episode 253. Heyman's speech at the beginning of the show is fantastic). There was a lot of criticism of WCW due to the fact that no one attended the funeral and that Spicolli's death has not really been acknowledged on TV aside from the tasteless comments of Larry Zbyszko who stayed in character and blew off the topic since he was in a feud with Spicolli at the time of his death. WWF didn't acknowledge it on TV but did mention it on their hotline.

- Spicolli's death has naturally led to a lot of discussions within all the companies this week about how to handle the drug problems that are so common in the business. Bischoff claims he was unaware that Spicolli had any history of drug issues. Bischoff also says that WCW randomly drug tests its stars and all wrestlers take mandatory drug tests when they sign. He also denied that anyone has a contract stipulating that they won't be tested. He says that when WCW wrestlers fail drug tests, it's not publicized due to a confidentiality agreement but that wrestlers who fail are required to attend educational classes. Spicolli was allegedly tested twice during his time with WCW and passed both times, although he had a prescription for the Somas so having that in his system wouldn't be considered failing. WWF has acknowledged that they were aware of Spicolli's drug problems and even discussed it with him before releasing him last year and in fact, his out-of-control drug problem is the reason why they eventually fired him.

- Vince McMahon appeared on TSN's Off The Record show in an interview about the Montreal Screwjob. For the first time, McMahon admitted that he lied to Bret about the finish of the match. When asked why he wanted Hart to leave the company, Vince responded, "A lot of reasons, actually. Bret was breaking down physically. Bret was getting to be a little bit of a pain in the ass in terms of his attitude. He was disruptive in the locker room to a certain extent. He wanted things his way. To a certain extent I can understand that. But we have to move on and we have to progress in what we do. We can't hold back. We can't keep things the way that they used to be for anybody. Bret's body started to break down. He started to miss dates and things of that nature and what's to be expected, I suppose, although you look at him as the "iron man" and certainly he has been that in this industry. But Bret's value began to wane and I looked at it in terms of I think I was really sorry after I'd done the deal, I was sorry that I had. Had everything gone smoothly then we would have lived with it. That's not what happened. It didn't go smoothly. I wanted to change Bret's character. I wanted to be able to mix things up. That was difficult. He was difficult to do business with. It was sort of like the tail wagging the dog. It was then than I decided that, ya know, maybe Bret might be better off financially somewhere else. We thought we would be better off financially without Bret." (loooool @ the idea that Bret was hard to work with, while 1997-Shawn Michaels was still running around.)

- Vince admitted that he regretted signing Bret to the 20-year contract, saying he made the mistake of listening to people around him at the time who told him they couldn't let Bret go to WCW. He claimed Bret breached his contract by refusing to drop the title and Vince said he lied to Bret about the planned finish of the match because he worried Bret wouldn't go to the ring otherwise. Vince denied that Bret Hart is a Canadian hero, which the host disagreed with and Vince said that since wrestling is scripted, if Bret is a Canadian hero, it's only because Vince made him one. Vince also claimed he allowed Bret to punch him because he basically felt he owed him an explanation and was willing to take it if Bret wanted to hit him.

- Bret was upset about Vince's comments on the show, particularly the parts about him missing shows and being a bad influence in the locker room, which Bret vehemently denies. Hart's contract called for him to work a maximum of 180 dates in 1997 and by November, he had already worked more than 200 so naturally, he's calling bullshit on the idea that he was missing shows or working a lighter schedule. Interestingly enough, Dave says there was a documentary crew following Bret Hart during much of this whole drama that can back up much of Bret's story (which we'll be hearing plenty more about eventually).

- WCW's SuperBrawl PPV is in the books and it was a solid show but not spectacular. Rick Martel blew out his knee in the opening match against Booker T, believed to be a torn MCL but Martel continued the match (Dave doesn't know it at the time, but this pretty much ended Martel's career and the plan of the match was changed on the fly. Martel was supposed to retain the TV title but they called an audible after the injury and had Booker win it). They also have been doing an angle with referee Nick Patrick trying to get reinstated and the plan was to bring in one of O.J. Simpson's lawyers on his behalf, either Johnnie Cochran or Robert Shapiro. At first, Cochran said he couldn't do it, so they went to Shapiro, who agreed. But just a few days before the PPV, he backed out of the deal. WCW frantically tried to get Cochran back on board and he was said to be interested but had previous commitments. So it didn't happen. Juventud Guerrera lost his mask in a match to Chris Jericho and as previously mentioned, he was none too happy about it. WCW of course didn't even try to play it up to its full potential and Juvi kept his hair in front of his face at first because he was legitimately crying when removing the mask because it's a family tradition for him (his father also wore the mask) and a huge deal in Mexican culture. But WCW couldn't care less.

- ECW's upcoming Living Dangerously PPV will feature a pre-taped match between Sabu vs. Sandman. The reasoning is because the Sabu/Sandman match at November To Remember was widely considered one of the worst matches of the year, so in order to avoid a repeat of that, they will tape the match in advance and edit it to make it watchable in the event it ends up being terrible again. ECW will acknowledge that it's pre-taped and the gimmick is going to be that the PPV censors have forbid them to air the match, but they're going to defy the censors and do it anyway, which Dave says is creative if nothing else.

- WCW's next PPV, Uncensored, comes 2 weeks before Wrestlemania and WCW has loaded the show up with as many big matches as possible to try to steal some of the thunder from WWF. With PPVs costing $30-$40, a lot of people may only buy one per month, so WCW hopes to throw as much as they can at the wall to try to steal some of those buys from Wrestlemania. Hogan/Savage cage match, Sting/Hall for WCW title, Giant/Nash, Luger/Steiner, Hart/Henning, Benoit/Raven/DDP, and more all on the same show.

- Raw was preempted by the Westminster Dog Show (goddammit I hated that dog show as a kid) and as a result, Nitro was unopposed and ended up setting its all time ratings record, with a 5.10 rating. But WCW was actually somewhat disappointed by the rating because just a few weeks ago, they did a 4.93 rating while going head-to-head. So with Raw not being on the air, WCW was hoping to do much higher than a 5.10, with some predicting they would break the 6.0 mark but the show was also facing competition from the Olympics that likely impacted it some.

- Something I haven't mentioned before, but remember the fake NWO Sting? Well he's still using that gimmick and has been wrestling full-time for the NWO faction in NJPW. Anyway, for the last several issues Dave has often mentioned that the NWO Sting has become light years better in the ring than the actual Sting.

- EMLL president Paco Alonso has re-opened negotiations with WWF about a working relationship. WWF is interested in bringing in a few Mexican wrestlers to shore up their light heavyweight division while EMLL is hopeful that a WWF-connection will stop all their major stars from jumping ship to other promotions. There's also talk of Alonso trying to broker a deal between WWF and Univision, which is the largest TV network in Mexico and could lead to WWF running shows in Mexico City. However, given the terrible Mexican economy, even if WWF were to sell out Arena Mexico, it might not financially be worth their while.

- AJPW is still continuing to negotiate with both WWF and ECW for their upcoming Tokyo Dome show. AJPW wants to do Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Kenta Kobashi, with Kobashi winning. Heyman still wants to do Shane Douglas vs. Hiroshi Hase in an ECW title match with Douglas winning. So far, neither has been agreed to. On the WWF front, there's nothing really new. An idea has been tossed around with Shawn Michaels coming over and putting over someone (likely Kobashi, which would nix the Bigelow match) and in exchange, Kobashi would later come to the U.S. and return the favor. WWF is iffy on that because Shawn has some name value in Japan and it would be meaningful if he did a job in Japan, but Kobashi has almost no name value in the U.S. so him doing a job to Michaels here wouldn't mean as much. So anyway, nothing has been finalized (Shawn, of course, was only 1 match away from retirement so this never happened, but man....Shawn in his prime vs. Kobashi in his prime could have been something, although I can't see 90s Shawn being willing to take that kind of beating without crying about it and refusing).

- NJPW wants to put together an 8-man tournament to see who will face Antonio Inoki in his retirement match, but none of the top stars in NJPW want to take part in it and are refusing (Dave doesn't specify why). The only names confirmed for the tournament so far are Don Frye and Naoya Ogawa. They've contacted outside names like Sid Vicious (who would fit into Japan "like a cat in a swimming pool" Dave says) and Genichiro Tenryu, who has already publicly turned it down. So still no word who will be in the tournament, much less who will face Inoki in his final match next month (ended up being Don Frye).

- Aja Kong's new women's promotion Arsion debuted in Japan and had a successful show. There's been some controversy because the promotion has been hanging posters all over Japan promoting the company, but since they're new and trying to get attention, the posters feature the wrestlers semi-nude, usually topless but covering their breasts with their hands and things like that. Several cities have banned the posters.

- FMW has a match coming up and Dave says check out the name of this match: "a four corners handcuffs fuckin dog briefs match." Dave has no idea what that is so use your imagination I guess.

- After cancelling an autograph signing last week, Sid Vicious no-showed several more events this week. First he no-showed another autograph show and then he also no-showed Ian Rotten's Eddie Gilbert memorial show a few days later. He did show up and work a Jerry Lawler-promoted show in Mississippi. Just Sid things.

- Speaking of no-shows, Sunny no-showed an NWA show promoted by Dennis Coraluzzo and instead appeared at an ECW show only 25 minutes away the same night. It's interesting because Coraluzzo presumeably had to get the booking through WWF since Sunny works for them, but Sunny has also been working periodically for ECW with her fiance Chris Candido and it's well known that Coraluzzo and Paul Heyman don't get along for a million different reasons. Word is Sunny never called Coraluzzo to inform him she wasn't coming and only mentioned it to Jim Cornette the day before, who passed the word on to Coraluzzo.

- Billy Jack Haynes has reappeared in Oregon again after disappearing a few months ago. He's been in and out of hiding and having money issues due to gambling debts and people he owes money to. Haynes went on a radio show last week and talked a bunch of shit about other wrestlers and then was involved in an incident where he attacked some people at the radio station and police were called.

- Les Thatcher is trying to put together a Brian Pillman memorial show in Ohio next month and he hopes to get guys from WWF, WCW, and ECW on the show, which would be quite a trick if he can pull it off. Steve Austin is expected to make an appearance but not wrestle.

- ECW lost their TV deal in Pittsburgh over concerns about their content. It's especially bad news because Pittsburg has been their best drawing market. The TV station has a new general manager who was upset about the language, violence, and blood. Paul Heyman has said he's willing to make special edits of the show specifically for the Pittsburgh market, where he will edit out the offending content in order to get back on the channel, but every time Heyman offered a concession to fix a problem, the GM would come up with another complaint. It became obvious that the guy just didn't want ECW on their station anymore so Heyman gave up and is working on getting a deal with a rival TV station in the area.

- Nitro featured another Raven match that ended in DQ, which again doesn't make sense because all of his matches are supposed to be under "Raven's Rules" which is specifically no DQ and they even said at the beginning of the match that it was a Raven's Rules match. "Remember, when you watch WCW, you have to leave your brain somewhere else," Dave says.

- On WCW Thunder, Chris Jericho did a hilarious interview, calling his fans "Jerichoholics" and the phrase was already over at house shows by the end of the week, with fans holding signs for it.

- Turns out Erik Watts was still under WWF contract up until last week, even though they haven't used him in about 2 years. But he was just finally given his release last week and is now training at the WCW Power Plant and may be starting back with them soon.

- Madusa was married to Cincinnati Bengals player Ken Blackman last month in Jamaica. She's still under WCW contract but hasn't been used in forever.

- The Atlanta Journal Constitution ran a story on Bill Goldberg, talking about his football and wrestling careers. The story quoted Goldberg saying that the original idea for his gimmick was for him to be called The Hybrid or Hybrid Fighter, but they ran into some trademark issues with a clothing company called Hybrid Clothes so they just used his real name instead.

- WCW is running low on referees right now, with Billy Silverman out with a groin injury and Randy Anderson somehow suffering a serious neck injury that may end his career. That leaves Charles Robinson, Mickey Jay, and Nick Patrick as the only referees in WCW, although Mark Curtis should be returning soon.

- Vince McMahon wasn't the only one on TSN's "Off The Record" show this week, as HHH, Chyna, and Dok Henrix all appeared on it as well, and were asked about the Survivor Series match. HHH claimed that neither he nor Shawn Michaels knew about the finish being changed ahead of time. Dave doesn't know if HHH knew or not, but several sources have all pretty much confirmed that Shawn knew. Dok Hendrix repeated the story that they were worried about Hart appearing on Nitro the next night with the belt, which would have been contractually impossible. WWF already has lawsuits pending against WCW over contract issues and if Bret showed up on WCW TV while still under contract to Vince, it would pretty much make the case a slam dunk and cost WCW millions. So despite that theory going around, it simply wasn't going to happen.

- Ahmed Johnson was released by WWF stemming from an incident at a recent TV taping. Ahmed still had 4 years left on his 5 year contract but it was no secret that WWF wasn't happy with him due to his track record of injuries and injuring other people. At a recent TV taping in Dallas, he was asked to put over Kurrgan but he refused and walked out and never came back, and so WWF fired him. Ahmed claims that story is a complete lie and that he was never asked to do a job and never refused and says he was fired because he spoke up about the Bret Hart/Montreal thing and was on "the wrong side of the fence" in that issue (basically, he openly took Bret Hart's side and claims Vince fired him for it).

- Legion of Doom is going to be repackaged and Sunny will be brought in as their manager. Dave thinks that sounds like a bad mix.

- Speaking of Sunny, she and Luna apparently got into a backstage fight at the same show Ahmed walked out on. Dave doesn't know too many details but apparently Sunny had said something about Luna to someone else, but it got back to Luna and got in Sunny's face and threw her to the ground, giving her a bruise on her back. But both sides reportedly worked it out and squashed the beef later.

- During the Luna/Sable brawl on TV, Sable had a bit of a wardrobe accident when her tits popped out of her top. It got edited off TV but people were able to find the video on the satellite feed and it spread around the internet (good luck googlers). A lot of people seem to believe it was intentional.

- They also edited a Steve Austin promo on the show. There were a lot of jump cuts because they edited out parts of the promo where Austin talked about giving the stunner to Chyna. Apparently they got a little squeamish about the angle at the recent PPV where Austin gave her the stunner. So they edited out where he talked about it and although they hinted at it on TV, they never showed it. We're not quite comfortable with man-on-woman violence in WWF just yet...

- HHH re-injured his knee training and had a meeting with Dr. James Andrews to get it looked at. He appeared at weekend houses hows but didn't wrestle and they're doing a lawsuit angle saying that DX is suing Austin for attacking Chyna to explain why he's not wrestling and why Shawn isn't around.

- On Raw, they did a gimmick where Goldust totally dressed as his father Dusty Rhodes, complete with fake scars on his arm and forehead. He wrestled Bradshaw and did all the Dusty spots and then actually told Bradshaw to start bumping for him and said "You better let me beat you up." It's believed Goldust will be portraying Ric Flair next week.

- John Tenta had a WWF tryout last week and did a good enough job that he is going to be hired and given a new gimmick.

- Shawn Michaels is said to be a definite to wrestle at Wrestlemania. Within the locker room, nobody believes that his back injury is as bad as he claims, although even if it was, nobody would believe it given his track record. Apparently, when he missed the PPV last week because he was ordered to stay in bed, he was actually out riding motorcycles with a friend of his, so...yanno. Michaels is expected to take some time off after Wrestlemania.

- Wrestler Matt Bloom, who was recently hired, may end up with a gimmick where they say he's George "The Animal" Steele's son.

- Del Wilkes (The Patriot) has been released due to his injuries (he retired soon after).

- WWF has given developmental contracts to both Erin O'Grady and Vic Grimes.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

(11-27-2017, 11:00 AM)Peezy Wrote: 3-2-1998

- John Tenta had a WWF tryout last week and did a good enough job that he is going to be hired and given a new gimmick.

- Wrestler Matt Bloom, who was recently hired, may end up with a gimmick where they say he's George "The Animal" Steele's son.

Tenta turned out to be Golga right? Poor guy!

Bloom was probably the most under/misutilized big guys in E in the last 20 years. I think he might have survived that gimmick but the Prince Albert stuff ruined his career before it ever started. Part of me would love a stable with Him/Gallows/Anderson/Balor working with the Jap theme but that'd make too much sense and the E needs jobbers.

- The combined Monday night audience for WWF and WCW set another all-time viewership record this week, each coming off major newsworthy shows. Over 6 million homes were watching wrestling that night. Raw featured Mike Tyson joining DX in a good angle, and Tyson seemed to be having the time of his life, but the angle got almost no mainstream publicity. It seems the sports media has already lost interest in the Tyson/wrestling connection, which doesn't bode well for Wrestlemania. Shawn Michaels, who supposedly has a severe back injury, was bouncing around the ring and looked perfectly fine and even gave Austin a superkick at one point, although he didn't actually wrestle. Raw also featured the return of the Undertaker to set up his match with Kane at Wrestlemania. Meanwhile, WCW featured Sting and Savage tagging together in the first ever WCW/NWO team-up, plus Bret Hart's return to the ring for the first time in 4 months, both of which were greeted with a surprisingly tame reaction, compared to the nuclear hot crowd WWF had.

- ECW's 4th ever PPV Living Dangerously is in the books. It took place in front of a sellout crowd of 3,700 people. The show was decent, some good, some bad. It showed that ECW doesn't have enough talented in-ring guys to compete with a WCW PPV, or the star-power and production value to compete with a WWF PPV. But if you're an ECW fan, it was definitely entertaining and creative, although if you're not already an ECW fan, it probably didn't do much to convert anybody and aside from a little more blood, it didn't offer anything you can't get from a WWF show.

- Other notes from Living Dangerously: RVD vs. Too Cold Scorpio was hyped up like they expected it to be a classic, but it was actually a pretty bad match that went for way too long. Dave says RVD is a great athlete with a great look but he's somewhat overrated by his hardcore fans, who act like he's the second coming of Shawn Michaels. Jenna Jameson (wearing more than Sable usually does on Raw) made another appearance, making out with Tommy Dreamer. The Taz/Bigelow match ended with them going through a hole in the ring, which was a creative spot. A pre-taped Sabu/Sandman match was aired in order to "buy time" to fix the ring. The match was pre-taped because they were afraid it would be as bad as their last match so they wanted to be able to edit it before it aired. They played it up as though the match was banned from airing because it was so violent but in reality, there was nothing particularly different about it from any other ECW match. As for the main event, they never fixed the ring and it hurt the quality of the main event. Sid Vicious was originally supposed to be Lance Storm's mystery partner, but the negotiations fell apart and it didn't end up happening.


- A lot of news came out of the TSN show Off The Record which featured Vince McMahon last week. The show aired 2 segments on back-to-back nights. The first one, Dave covered last week but the 2nd show came after last week's press time so Dave covers it here. Dave mentions some other stuff he didn't mention from the first show, where McMahon talked about not believing in giving creative control clauses to wrestlers, pointing out the problems they lead to in WCW. But he admitted that Bret did have a clause for "reasonable" creative control in his contract for his last 30 days. Whether Bret's refusal to go along with McMahon's plans leading up to Survivor Series can be considered "reasonable" or not is up for debate, but Vince felt it wasn't and claims that by refusing, Bret was in breach of his contract. When discussing the content of WWF, Vince said he didn't think anything should be off-limits other than guns, knives, rape, and robbery. Dave points out that the gun and rape things were already portrayed, both by Brian Pillman (Austin/gun angle and the Pillman/Marlena angle right before his death). Vince also said that "two guys in their underwear wrestling around is awfully boring."

- On the second episode of Off The Record that McMahon appeared on, they talked about WCW and Vince claimed Nitro has higher ratings because it's the most heavily promoted TV show in history and owned by the conglomerate that promotes it, which Dave says is a ridiculous statement. Vince also said that Ted Turner has never had an original idea in his life but is good at copying other people's ideas. When asked if he had any regrets about Hogan, Hall, and Nash leaving, Vince said no to Hogan but admitted that he might have some when it comes to Hall and Nash. He said he would take back Hogan on the right terms but he definitely wouldn't get into a bidding war with Turner for him. When asked if WCW's dominance over WWF was karma for the way Vince put the territories out of business, Vince said they put themselves out of business and argues that he was just a young kid trying to compete with a bunch of rich older promoters. Dave scoffs at that shit and talks about a show he attended many years ago where the NWA president Bob Geigel, who was running the Kansas City territory at the time, was in t-shirt and jeans with a plunger trying to fix a toilet at the arena before a show, while Vince was in his suit and tie and jetsetting around the country, buying TV time slots away from struggling promotions. Anyway, in the interview, McMahon also talked about the possibility of taking the company public some day, although he talked as if it was a long way in the future. He also claimed that, aside from TV ratings, the WWF "is kicking Ted Turner's ass." When asked if he regretted the Melanie Pillman interview 24 hours after Brian died, Vince said no. "I don't regret that whatsoever. The purpose for having Melanie on was because at the time Brian Pillman was a real free spirit. Brian Pillman was known from time to time to use recreational drugs, and it was thought at the time by his wife, that was one of the reasons why he died. So I gave her the forum to say, maybe everyone can learn from this, maybe everyone can benefit from this tragedy. And that is why we had Melanie on, to be able to say that about Brian. As it turned out, he had a heart attack and a defective heart."

- Finally, Vince was asked to play word association, where the host named some names and Vince gave his thoughts:

Ultimate Warrior: "Lunatic."

Eric Bischoff: "Don't know him that well. From his reputation, not a nice man."

Hulk Hogan: "Not as big as he thinks he is."

Bruno Sammartino: "A confused individual suffering from dementia, but one with a great reputation."

Rick Rude: "Someone who would like to be in this era performing with the greats, but can't.

Jesse Ventura: "Overrated at the time, and still is confused about his place in the history of the WWF."

Kevin Nash: "A very fortunate individual that someone finally saw the talent and gave him the opportunity to be somebody."

Vince McMahon: "The luckiest man on Earth. I've got it all. A wonderful family, the privilege of being in a company and doing what I love which is entertaining people. It's the biggest thrill of my life, apart from my family.

- Dave says Vince's comments about Sammartino are interesting because recently, there has been an attempt to try to bury the hatchet with Sammartino, with some in the company reaching out to him through third parties. In fact, in an interview recently, Sammartino seemed to be leaning towards Vince's side when discussing the Montreal incident. Vince and Bruno haven't actually spoken since 1992 on the Phil Donahue show, which Dave was also on (he mentions that the reason he was seated next to McMahon on the show is because Bruno had originally been seated there, but backstage he openly claimed he didn't know if he could control himself and not punch Vince's lights out, so producers put him on the opposite side of the stage and put Dave next to Vince instead).

- The future of Promo Azteca in Mexico and the situation with the Mexican wrestlers in WCW seems to be up in the air. Representatives from WCW and Promo Azteca met to discuss the possibility of airing Promo Azteca shows in the U.S. Negotiations went poorly and it eventually ended with WCW sending Konnan a letter saying that he and every other Mexican wrestler in WCW is under exclusive contract to WCW and can't wrestle anywhere else, including Mexico. Konnan was also told that he can no longer book for Azteca. This is obviously crippling to Promo Azteca, since nearly their entire roster is contracted to WCW. And it seems WCW has the right to do this. The contracts state that when signing with WCW, these wrestlers would be exclusive to them, but WCW was basically letting them work in Mexico simply out of the kindness of their heart, but they could pull them at any time and now they have. The Mexican wrestlers are said to be extremely pissed about it because even though they make more money in WCW, they're treated as jobbers for the most part, but they're headliners in Mexico and now they're not allowed to work in their home country.

- An upcoming Nitro in Minneapolis sold out in 5 hours, making it the most impressive first-day sales in WCW history. They sold nearly 15,000 tickets for the show. Then the next day, tickets for an upcoming Nitro in Louisville went on sale and also sold out in less than 5 hours, for another near-14,000 tickets. It pretty much destroyed every wrestling ticket and gate record in the city's history. Even by the current standards of how hot the wrestling business is, this is insane and Dave says the demand for Nitro tickets these days is more like the demand for major concert tickets.

- WWC women's champion La Tigresa in Puerto Rico was arrested last month for being part of a gang that traffics heroin and cocaine in a local prison. Four undercover police purchased around $400,000 worth of drugs from the group and then arrested La Tigresa, her boyfriend, her mother, and someone else on drug charges.

- In AAA, they're looking at bringing in former WCW jobber Barry Houston and giving him a male stripper gimmick. They want to put him in a tag team with Black Magic (Norman Smiley) with the gimmick being that Black Magic would act like his pimp (doesn't seem to have ever happened).

- Juventud Guerrera worked some shows in Mexico last week while still wearing his mask. He cut a promo explaining it by saying he went into hostile territory (the U.S.) and the promotion (WCW) "stole" his mask. Since the mask is licensed in Mexico (whatever that means) and he lost the mask outside of the licensed territory, the wrestling commission allowed that to stand and he's still allowed to wear his mask in Mexico. But of course, given the new situation with WCW preventing contracted wrestlers from working in Mexico, he might not be back any time soon.

- There's a lot of rumors that the working relationship between NJPW and WCW is coming to an end, as they apparently don't have any WCW wrestlers booked after May.

- There's a little more on the recent situation with Sunny cancelling an appearance for Dennis Coraluzzo and appearing at an ECW show the same night instead. As you'd imagine, Coraluzzo was none too pleased and complained that a local sponsor had helped fund the show mostly because Sunny was scheduled to appear. Coraluzzo wrote a letter to WWF threatening to sue. Coraluzzo actually knew a day in advance that Sunny wouldn't be there but he continued acting like she would be up until late in the show, when he finally announced to the live crowd that she wasn't going to be there. According to Sunny, WWF had given her a list of approved shows she could work, which included both the Coraluzzo show and the ECW show the same night. And for whatever reason, Coraluzzo was under the impression she was working his show, but Sunny claims she never agreed to it and wanted to work the ECW date instead. WWF sources dispute it and say that Sunny had agreed to work the Coraluzzo show but then backed out the day before because she thought it would cause heat with Paul Heyman (who, as covered before, fucking hates Dennis Coraluzzo). Sunny also had WWF approval to appear on ECW's PPV but they never approved her to appear on ECW TV the week before and they were upset about that. They don't mind Sunny working ECW house shows on her days off but if she's going to appear on their TV shows, they want to know about it beforehand.

- Speaking of the Dennis Coraluzzo show, it was actually an Eddie Gilbert memorial show. And in typical Coraluzzo fashion, he cut a promo during the show trashing ECW and saying that Paul Heyman had backstabbed Eddie Gilbert and basically stole ECW from him back when Eddie was booking for ECW. Dave does admit there's some truth to the fact that Eddie Gilbert was booking the promotion and was basically forced out by Tod Gordon, who then handed over the booking to Paul Heyman. But during the Eddie Gilbert days, ECW was deep in the red and would have gone out of business if Heyman hadn't come in and turned things around. On the same show, Sid Vicious worked and cut a promo talking about his recent no-shows. He claimed he no-showed an autograph show last month because they wanted him to pay his own way to fly in for it. And he say he no-showed Ian Rotten's IWA show because Rotten had called him and said the advance ticket sales were poor and not to bother coming, and then when he didn't show, Rotten went in the ring and cut a promo burying him.

- An Atlanta newspaper recently reviewed Abdullah The Butcher's House of Ribs and Chinese Food restaurant. They praised the ribs but said the Chinese food was just average.

- Newest gimmicks in Extremely Strange Wrestling: Natural Born Molestor, Karen Von Erich, Tyson the Cannibal, Disco Dragon, and The Rapist.

- Stevie Richards will be undergoing throat surgery in 2 weeks and is expected to need at least 3 more surgeries after that one. All of this stems from the original neck surgery he had awhile back (if you ever wondered why he has such a raspy voice now, there ya go).

- Dave says that ECW and the wrestlers deserve a ton of credit for the classy way they handled the death of Louie Spicolli. Sabu and RVD were pall bearers at the funeral, and Tommy Dreamer, Beulah, and Little Guido flew across country to attend the wake and then had to fly right back to work a show the next night, but they still made the trip. Paul Heyman allowed 2 of his biggest stars (RVD and Sabu) the night off for the funeral because they were so close to Spicolli. They also had a special trophy made honoring Spicolli in ECW and gave it to his family. They also had the 10-bell salute for Spicolli before a show and a they used the death valley driver on the PPV, which Joey Styles renamed the Spicolli Driver. Meanwhile, the company that Spicolli actually worked for when he died (WCW) and the company where he first became a known star (WWF) both did absolutely jack shit for him and no one from either company attended his funeral.

- Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero teamed up for a match on Nitro and Dave says it's a shame that WCW doesn't care about tag teams anymore because if they put those 2 together as a real team, they would be the best team in America by a landslide. He says Jericho is basically doing the Art Barr Love Machine gimmick these days and nobody knows how to work with that better than Eddie Guerrero.

- Disco Inferno had been using a version of the stone cold stunner as his finisher (calling it the chart buster) but now Ed Leslie has debuted as the newest member of the NWO and used the move as his finisher. Turns out WCW has told Disco Inferno not to use the move anymore because Hogan has insisted that the stunner be reserved for Leslie to use.

- A lot of people backstage were mad at Steven Regal for his match with Goldberg a couple of weeks back, where he basically sandbagged him and did some shooting on Goldberg in the match. But contrary to rumors, Regal hasn't been fired.

- On this week's WCW Thunder epiosode, the announced that WCW was no longer going to enforce the over-the-top-rope disqualification rule that has been a staple of WCW for years. In reality, they hadn't acknwoledged or enforced that on TV for a long time now, but a couple of weeks ago on Raw, WWF made fun of the rule during the Jim Cornette NWA angle and apparently it touched a nerve because WCW is now doing away with it officially.

- More crowd trouble at a Lincoln, NE show for WCW. Chris Jericho was doing the normal cheap heat stuff of insulting the city and the Cornhuskers football team and it led to the crowd getting out of control and throwing stuff. Several fans were injured and 30 police had to come out and quell the crowd. WCW security later said it was the most misbehaved crowd ever at a WCW event.

- The original plan for the upcoming New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie match at Wrestlemania was for it to be a barbed wire match. But WWF scrapped the idea when PPV provider Viewer's Choice made their objections known, so it will probably end up as some other gimmick match (yeah, a stupid dumpster match. And to think, we almost had a barbed wire match at a Wrestlemania).

- Wrestlemania 15 next year is tentatively scheduled for Sky Dome in Toronto (nope, ended up being Philly).

- WWF will be holding another training camp soon. Among the names expected to be there are a guy named Paulo Silva who is said to be a 7'5 former Brazillian basketball player (he later became Giant Silva in the Oddities). Word is he went to work out at Larry Sharpe's gym and when Sharpe saw him, he contacted WWF and they immediately signed him to a developmental deal as soon as they saw him (Vince's big man fetish strikes again). It's also expected that Erin O'Grady (Crash Holly) and Vic Grimes will attend the training camp also.

- WWF is close to signing Mens Teioh, Dick Togo and Shoichi Funaki from Michinoku Pro (they would all breifly be members of Kaientai until the group was eventually wittled down to just Taka and Funaki).

- In an Ottawa Sun newspaper interview, Vince McMahon trashed Ahmed Johnson, saying was always injured and that he often injured others. He also said that Ahmed couldn't separate his character and was basically the same guy outside the ring as he was in it. Ahmed had been pushed so hard as a big star for so long that it had gone to his head, but he lost steam because he was constantly hurt and because when he was around, he was a terrible worker and fans saw that.

- More letters, more Bret Hart Screwjob discussion. Even 5 months later, it's still the hot topic. One guy points out that Davey Boy Smith got screwed over the most. WWF turned it into a storyline to make Vince heel, Bret got a lighter work schedule and a pay raise, Bischoff got to steal another WWF guy, Shawn Michaels got rid of his #1 enemy, Owen got a major pay raise to come back to work....Davey Boy Smith, meanwhile, had to pay WWF to get out of his contract and now he's in WCW feuding with Steve McMichael. A couple of other people write in, essentially calling bullshit on Shawn Michaels' alleged back injury and say he's just trying to get out of doing the job to Steve Austin at Wrestlemania.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post

- There's a ton of behind-the-scenes turmoil in WCW regarding several wrestlers and seems to stem from the Hogan/Bischoff clique butting heads with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, who feel they're being held down below Hogan's level. They also weren't happy that Hogan had brought Ed Leslie into the NWO since, well, he sucks and no one other than Hogan wants him around and it waters down the group even more than it already is. There had been plans to split the NWO with Hall and Nash forming the Wolfpac group to feud with Hogan, but Hogan nixed the plans, saying it was too soon to split the NWO up. Of course, Hall and Nash saw it as Hogan not wanting to work a storyline against them and trying to keep them below him in the pecking order of WCW. Even though Hall and Nash are feuding with Sting over the WCW title, the Hogan vs. Savage angle has been clearly positioned as the top angle in the company. There have been other issues also, like Nash being vehemently against an angle where The Giant would powerbomb him on Thunder, which was Hogan's idea. Nash was eventually talked into it but he wasn't happy about it. It's gotten so bad that both Hall and Nash inquired about being released but Bischoff said they're both under contract until 2001 and he has no intention of releasing them. So even if they quit, they would be forced to sit out for 3 years until they could go back to WWF. And in the midst of all of this, Syxx (Sean Waltman) was released from WCW this week and is reportedly already in touch with WWF about returning. That's all Dave really says about it right now but we'll find out more soon.

- Hall and Nash aren't the only ones unhappy lately. Chris Benoit got into a backstage argument with DDP and Raven because he felt like they are only using him to have great matches but are making themselves the main focus of their storyline. And earlier that week, Benoit, Chris Jericho and Dean Malenko all "bumped into" Vince McMahon, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, and other WWF wrestlers at a hotel near where both companies were doing shows. Word is the WWF guys all pretty much told the WCW wrestlers that they have main event potential and were being wasted in WCW, which only confirmed how they already feel. All 3 guys still have about 2 years left on their WCW contracts. A few weeks ago, Eddie Guerrero tried to get his release but Bischoff refused and threatened to tie him up in legal red tape if he quit, which is still reportedly a sore subject for Guerrero. As for Chris Jericho, WCW is said to be really high on him right now because he's gotten over great since turning heel. But everyone else in the industry is seeing Jericho's potential now also. And finally, there's Ric Flair, who still gets some of the biggest babyface reactions in the company but he's been unhappy about how he's been used and has talked of retiring, not because he wants to stop wrestling but because he's just that unhappy in WCW.

- In even more bad news for them, the WCW/NJPW relationship appears to be all but dead at this point for about a dozen different reasons. NJPW has been doing their own version of the NWO angle but have started phasing it out in recent weeks. WCW gets a cut of all the NWO merchandise sold and are unhappy that NJPW seems to be trying to put an end to the angle. There's also issues over booking angles, since WCW wants to have a say in who gets added to the NJPW version of the NWO and haven't been happy with some of NJPW's decisions. There's also been some money issues between each side, since they pay each other to use talent. The companies had a joint bank account where they each deposited or withdrew money as agreed upon for various things. NJPW recently withdrew all their money from the account and WCW did the same. NJPW's company magazine also stopped covering WCW news and there are no WCW wrestlers booked for the next couple of months tours. NJPW was also unhappy with the wrestlers WCW were sending. When they first made the working agreement a couple of years ago, WCW was letting NJPW use guys like Benoit and Guerrero. But recently, they only send castoffs like Fake Sting and Michael Wallstreet, who NJPW aren't really interested in. And even worse, WCW reportedly offered to send some wrestlers to work AJPW's upcoming Tokyo Dome show, which didn't make NJPW very happy since AJPW is their competition. All of this has led to rumors of NJPW possibly forming a new relationship with WWF, but Dave is skeptical of that ever happening.

- In slightly better news, the WCW issues with Promo Azteca seem to have smoothed over this week, and the Mexican wrestlers will still be allowed to work shows in Mexico. Word is at least 5 of the Mexican wrestlers were planning to ask for their release or even get themselves fired to get out of their WCW contract if they couldn't work in Mexico anymore. It seems to be on a trial basis right now, as the agreement for WCW-contracted wrestlers to work in Mexico is only for the next 30 days, at which point WCW will revisit the issue (this eventually ends badly for Promo Azteca. It never really seems to get covered though. But eventually, WCW pulls all their Mexican guys and don't let them work for Promo Azteca anymore, and the company quietly goes out of business).

- The tradition of Memphis wrestling will be returning next month, as a new promotion called Power Pro Wrestling will be airing on the same channel that USWA vacated a few months ago when they went out of business. In the glory days of early Memphis wrestling, the weekly Saturday morning show on WMC-TV 5 was possibly one of the highest rated wrestling shows in the world. Randy Hales, the long-time general manager of USWA, is the 100% owner of Power Pro Wrestling. He's expected to bring in Sid Vicious and Miss Texas (formerly Jacqueline in WCW) as the top stars but no word if Jerry Lawler or Brian Christopher will be involved, thought it''s expected that they will be. But Lawler's name is still tied up in a bunch of legal mess over USWA's folding, so they're being mum about it. But you can expect lots of old USWA stars to return like PG-13 and Bill Dundee, among others. They plan to run a full schedule in all the old cities USWA was running in and possibly run monthly shows at the Mid South Coliseum again.

- WWF and WCW have Raw and Nitro booked in basically the same area on the same night next month. WWF will be at the Coliseum in Hampton, VA while Nitro will be about 30 minutes away in Norfolk at the Scope arena (wonder if anything noteworthy will happen there...). WWF pushed their on-sale date up for tickets and got a 4-day jump on WCW, and they also sent Undertaker to sign autographs for people buying tickets. This will be the first head-to-head like this since last year in Los Angeles, which WCW slightly outdrew WWF. But WCW spent more than $100,000 in advertising and ran the show at a loss just to gain that moral victory, while WWF's show ended up being profitable.

- Must be a slow week because Dave decides to look at the HOF-credentials of active wrestlers. He talks about how Sports Illustrated did it recently, where they looked at active football players and tried to determine if their career is already Hall of Fame-worthy. So Dave goes through a whole list of names and basically gives his opinion on how he'd vote if they were up for election into the WON Hall of Fame. I won't name all of them, but here's some of the interesting ones:


- Steve Austin: not yet but if he has another year or two like he's had for the last year or so, he's probably a shoe-in simply based on star-power alone

- Chris Benoit - still young, never a major draw, but arguably one of the 2 or 3 best in-ring junior heavyweights ever so he'd have to be considered

- Eric Bischoff - too soon to say. Lots of promoters have hot runs, but he'd need to be judged long-term, not based only on the last 2 years of WCW.

- Scott Hall - he's got a lot of the right credentials but has never been a world champion and has only had a few memorable matches. Has lots of charisma but as of now, Dave doesn't quite think he should go in yet

- Owen Hart - not yet but he's accomplished more at this age than Bret did at the same age so time will tell

- Curt Henning - was a great worker in the 80s and early 90s before being derailed by a back injury. But he never really broke through as a top star and ever since 1991, he's only been decent at best and that doesn't help his case

- Paul Heyman - sorta the same as Bischoff, too soon to say, but he's innovated a lot of things about the business and is responsible in a lot of ways for the current direction the WWF is going.

- Jushin Liger - even if he never wrestles another match in his life, he's already a sure thing

- Shawn Michaels - already a sure thing

- Okay, I'm going to stop because when I started typing this, I didn't realize how many names Dave goes through. He lists most of the top stars throughout the world and gives his thoughts and there's a lot. Some of it is pretty interesting in retrospect and a lot of it would lead to surefire arguments. I can only imagine the cranky butt-hurt if Dave did this with today's stars.


- Last week's Nitro main event of Sting/Savage/Giant vs. Hogan/Hall/Nash was watched by 4,188,000 homes, making it the most watched wrestling match in history on cable television. The previous record was actually set back in August by....wait for it....Eddie Guerrero vs. Steve McMichael, on a night when Raw wasn't on. But this time, they were facing competition from Raw and still broke the record. It's also interesting because WWF had heavily hyped a Mike Tyson interview during that segment but the ratings didn't really change, which doesn't bode well for Tyson as a ratings draw. In fact, the only time the Raw rating really spiked during the show was during the Steve Austin/Vince McMahon angle (as if those 2 would ever be a draw. Pffft).

- Dave off-handedly mentions that Hollywood is making a movie about Andy Kaufman. Jim Carrey will star as Kaufman and the angle with Lawler will be featured in the flick.

- Pitbull #1 and #2 both pleaded guilty to charges of selling steroids and marijuana last week. Each of them were fined $2000 and given 3 years probation. They also had to give up over $7000 they had earned from the sales. They were given lighter sentences because they had worked with authorities to help them catch larger drug suppliers (snitches get stitches!). They recently contacted WCW about coming in for a tryout but were turned down and word is ECW isn't planning to bring them back either.

- Paul Heyman was reportedly extremely upset about the promo Dennis Coraluzzo cut at an Eddie Gilbert memorial show last week where he accused Heyman of backstabbing Gilbert and stealing ECW from him.

- WCW has given notice to Steven Regal, Bobby Walker, David Taylor, and Vincent. Basically, they have 90-day rollover clauses in their contract and if WCW doesn't give them notice during that time, the contracts renew. Anyway, point being, in 90 days, all 4 of those guys are out of a job. Dave thinks it'll be interesting to see what happens with Regal because he's one of the best in the biz when he's in shape and motivated, but he's neither right now. He thinks WWF will be interested if he can get back into shape. Dave also says Regal's match with Goldberg a few weeks ago likely played a part in his release.

- Ahmed Johnson sent feelers out to WCW but word is Eric Bischoff isn't interested. Johnson had proposed an idea of a feud between himself and Goldberg. Dave can't even fathom how bad that would be.

- Goldberg has been the most over wrestler at many of WCW's recent house shows. There's currently not any Goldberg merch but WCW is working on some and it's expected to sell through the roof when it comes out.

- Rick Martel is expected to be out for around 10 months after suffering a knee injury at SuperBrawl (nope, he was only out for 5....but he immediately re-injured the knee in his first match back and then retired).

- Bret Hart wrote a column in the Calgary Sun paper responding to Vince McMahon's comments about him on Off The Record. He talked about Vince's "cold eyes" and "forked tongue darting out" and calls him a liar. In response to Vince saying that Bret's body was breaking down and that he was missing shows, Bret responded by writing, "First off, I'm not breaking down and he's lucky I didn't sue him for saying so. And even if I was, he had a contract to pay me whether I was injured or not. He implied that it's okay for his 'boy toy' to be injured but because I was being paid more I was not entitled to get hurt. He fails to mention that only three days after extensive knee surgery, I was on his crummy Raw show."

- There's a hardcore porn coming out called Nude World Order which, as it sounds, is a parody of the NWO and pro wrestling (I tried to find this for, uh, science. But couldn't find it streaming anywhere. But it exists and was released in 1998).

- WWF Injury Report: Owen Hart suffered a severely sprained ankle and some ligament damage but they're hopeful he'll be back by Wrestlemania. Jesse James suffered a shoulder injury but they're also hopeful he'll be back in time, as it's believed he and Billy Gunn will likely be in a dumpster match against Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie. Bradshaw was hospitalized due to possible blood clots in his knee but he's expected to be fine and will be back in a couple of weeks. Chainz from DOA was out of action with an irregular heartbeat but the cardiologists have since cleared him.

- Dave talks about how one-sided the WWF developmental contracts are. They're 1-year deals with a small guaranteed salary. If WWF decides they like the guy, they can renew the contract for 4 more years for the same amount. So basically, guys are potentially signing away 5 years of their career for peanuts.

- Pete Rose will be getting paid $25,000 for his appearance at Wrestlemania.

- Jeff Jarrett's wife is recovering well from breast cancer.

- And now, words of wisdom from Dave Meltzer: "Do you realize that if silicon were magnetic, that once Sable and Luna got within the gravitational pull of each other there would be no force in the universe strong enough to break them apart? And if that wasn't bad enough, do you realize that if steroids were magnetic, then WCW's Power Plant would have to be renamed Hotel California. You could check out anytime you like, but you could never leave. You know, because of the magnetic force all the guys would have on each other and they'd be stuck." Oh Dave...
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post

- The situation regarding Syxx (Sean Waltman) being fired by WCW seems to have been at least partly due to Eric Bischoff trying to send a message to Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, who have been openly complaining about how unhappy they are with things in WCW. As it stands, it seems like the only thing Syxx did to be fired was have the wrong friends. Syxx still had a year and a half left on his contract but was FedEx'd his termination notice from WCW. Syxx has already started negotiating with WWF but word is WWF's offer was described as embarrassing and would be a substantial paycut from what he made in WCW. Keep in mind, WWF freely released Waltman in 1996 and allowed him to go to WCW, mostly due to his problem with painkillers. WCW paid for his rehab and brought him in as the 6th member of the NWO. Waltman has been out for months due to a serious neck injury and is still months away from being cleared to return, and it's led to a lot of people in WCW, even people who don't generally like Syxx, talking about how it's kinda fucked up to fire a guy with a wife and 2 kids, while he's injured, seemingly for no other reason than to stick it to his friends. Reportedly Hall and Nash tried to rally a bunch of WCW wrestlers together, almost as if to unionize, and confront Bischoff. But Bischoff got wind of it early and put a stop to it somehow. Earlier this month, Hogan, Bischoff, and Nash had a meeting with Hogan accusing Nash of trying to run him out of WCW and Nash told Hogan point blank that he wants his spot and Hogan said he wasn't giving it up. Hall and Nash have both been open about wanting their release but Bischoff isn't even remotely considering that because WWF would snatch them up in a heartbeat. On Nitro, both Hall and Nash have seemingly been phoning it in and goofing off, with Hall at one point even getting on the mic and jokingly telling Giant it was his cue to attack them. And, in unrelated news, Ric Flair is still unhappy and actually they plan to keep him off TV for the next few weeks, which Dave once again points out is stupid since his segments are often among the highest rated. It's led to Flair still talking about wanting to retire, not because he wants to stop wrestling, but he just no longer wants to deal with the backstage shit.

- That's behind the scenes. On the surface, everything is golden in WCW. This week's Nitro broke nearly every wrestling rating record ever since Raw was preempted. It became the first wrestling show in cable TV history to average over 4 million homes for the entire show and nearly hit 5 million for the main event. The last hour of Nitro had 4 matches and all 4 of those matches now hold the record for the 4 most watched wrestling matches in the history of cable TV. Dave compares WCW to NJPW in 1982. Dave says that back then, NJPW was on top of the world, drawing huge houses and doing huge TV ratings, but behind the scenes, there was chaos similar to WCW, where all the younger wrestlers were feeling held back by the old guard (Inoki). But no one was concerned because NJPW was on top of the world. But only 2 years later, NJPW was on the brink of folding after all the young talent jumped ship and went elsewhere because they were fed up with the politics (and sure enough, 2 years from now, WCW will be on the brink of folding not long after Jericho, Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko, Saturn, and others all jump ship for the exact same reasons. Oh, how history repeats itself. And Dave was predicting it in 1998, at the height of WCW's success).

- AJPW announced the lineup for their big first ever Tokyo Dome show card. The initial lineup was actually announced a few days earlier, but the fan reaction was so negative that Baba changed all but 2 of the matches. The new lineup is better, but still a letdown to fans who were hoping for a better show on paper. Dave runs down the matches and predicts that Kawada will win the Triple Crown title from Misawa (yup). The show will also feature WWF's Vader teaming up with Stan Hansen for the first time ever in Japan. AJPW is still negotiating with WWF for other wrestlers but that might not pan out. Vader has never worked in AJPW before but Giant Baba reportedly wants to use him regularly if WWF will allow it.

- NJPW and WCW's relationship seems to be all but dead. It started with WCW pressuring NJPW not to use Great Sasuke due to his WWF and ECW ties. Then NJPW brought in Big Titan (formerly the Fake Razor Ramon) and WCW wasn't happy about that because they felt they had the agreement to send NJPW foreign wrestlers and NJPW booked him without going through WCW. This led to WCW insisting that Big Titan not be teamed with any of the WCW wrestlers, which NJPW promptly ignored and did anyway. There's also a lot of heat over NWO merchandise, which was a big seller in NJPW and which WCW got a cut of. But the company has started phasing that out in favor of different merch, which WCW doesn't get a cut of, and they're not happy about it. As for NJPW, they started to feel like WCW was trying to play too big a role in telling them how to run their business. The relationship was already hanging by a thread at this point, and then Giant Baba did an interview saying that WCW had offered to send him wrestlers for their show, which naturally pissed off NJPW and effectively killed the relationship. Eric Bischoff has now begun meeting with Japanese TV officials to try to get Nitro its own deal to air in Japan and hopes to start running WCW-only shows in Japan, but most people think that would be a surefire failure. This all gets interesting because now both AJPW and NJPW are potentially in the discussion for a working agreement with WWF. If WWF works out a deal with AJPW (as has been discussed), it would probably end the possibility of a deal with NJPW. But there are some in NJPW who want to work with WWF, with guys like Keiji Muto and Masa Chono talking about a deal where they would join DX and do a Japanese version of the group similar to the NWO Japan angle.

- WCW Uncensored is in the books and despite throwing all the star-power WCW has at the show, it ended up being just an average event, capped off with a worst match of the year candidate between Hogan and Savage. The initial plan for the show was for Eddie Guerrero to win the TV title but they changed it because word had leaked out. Chris Benoit was also supposed to win the U.S. title but that also got changed to DDP retaining. Kevin Nash was supposed to finally put over The Giant but that got changed to Giant winning by DQ to appease Nash, who has been unhappy (as covered already) and didn't want to do the job. Scott Hall has no problem doing jobs and he worked his ass off in putting over Sting, but speaking of, Sting's popularity has dropped off a cliff since Starrcade.

- Other notes from the show: in a typically silly WCW angle, they did a promo where JJ Dillon agreed to un-ban the powerbomb for the Giant/Nash match (the move has been banned for weeks and they've been doing angles where Nash gets arrested when he uses it). Anyway, JJ Dillon said the move would be allowed in their match only because Giant asked for it to be unbanned. And then they had the match and neither guy ever used a powerbomb, thus rendering the entire angle pointless. They did an angle where Dean Malenko is on a losing streak and basically quit, which should lead to him returning in a few weeks with a different gimmick. Bret Hart/Curt Hennig was decent, but Hennig just isn't the worker he used to be anymore and it showed. As for the main event, Hogan/Savage in a cage, Dave just rips it apart. The Hogan/Piper match last year was dubbed "Age in the Cage." So Dave starts tossing out potential nicknames for this match: "Crowd silence for a poor representation of violence? Lack of suspense in a fence? Yawner en la juala" ("en la juala" means "in the cage" if you weren't sure). He also talks about how both men bladed and bled all over the place and points out how WCW allegedly still has a no blading policy and how others in the past have been fired for that. Dave basically calls it one of the worst matches of both their careers.

- Dave reviews the latest UFC show and I won't get too much into it, but he basically says it was the best show in UFC's history, with a crowd that was smart to how MMA works and weren't bored by ground grappling. Better matches due to a new matchmaker and all in all it was just a great show, but sadly, fewer people than ever saw it because UFC is basically blacklisted from most PPV providers at this point. The main event saw Frank Shamrock vs. Igor Zinoviev stopped after only a few seconds when Zinoviev was injured on the first takedown and had to be stretchered out of the octagon, which is the first actual significant injury in UFC's history. He follows that up with a long review of the 2nd Pride show, which was the complete opposite of the UFC show and was just flat out awful. They tried a gimmick with no time limits or rounds, and so several of the matches lasted a loooooooong time, including one fight that lasted almost an hour, which was mostly spent with both guys on the ground and the crowd was literally falling asleep.

- Japanese women's wrestler Akira Hokuto announced that she is pregnant and will be taking a hiatus from wrestling. Hokuto becomes the first woman in the history of Japanese wrestling to have a child while still being an active wrestler. Tradition in women's wrestling in Japan has always called for the women to retire at age 26, and there were strict rules about drinking, smoking, and having sex that could even get women kicked out of the promotion for violating them. Hokuto flouted all those rules and apparently was such a big star that no one ever held her to them and now, at age 30 and still not retired, she is pregnant, but plans to resume her career after she gives birth.

- Bob Backlund will reportedly be attending Antoni Inoki's retirement show next month. Backlund and Inoki used to be occasional tag team partners in Japan when Backlund was WWF champion. There's also a famous story of Inoki winning the WWF title from Backlund and then dropping it back to him soon after, in a title change that WWF doesn't recognize. Muhammad Ali is also expected to attend the retirement show.

- Tank Abbott has been telling people that he plans to get into pro wrestling.

- Cablevision has agreed to carry the next ECW's next PPV in May. They were the lone holdout so now ECW has the full scope of PPV carriers and it should guarantee ECW does around 60,000 to 70,000 buys per show, which should turn a nice profit for each show.

- Random ECW notes: Al Snow has the wildest entrance in wrestling but the crowd heat dies instantly as soon as his matches start. Chris Candido has added so much muscle that he looks like bodybuilder and all the added body mass is hurting his in-ring skills. Stevie Richard is scheduled for another vocal cord surgery next week.

- Sandman was prevented from wrestling at a house show in New York last week because his blood pressure was too high and the athletic commission wouldn't allow it. He was scheduled for the main event so Heyman had to restructure the entire card at the last second. Sandman ended up coming out but stayed far away from the ring (he wasn't even allowed to be in it) and ended up cutting a promo from the entryway, shooting on the athletic commission, calling them weasels for not letting him wrestle.

- Random notes from Nitro: Raven has been hinting on TV about "The Snake" joining his Flock, which is, of course, expected to be Jake Roberts. It was one of the outdoor spring break shows with the ring surrounded by water. At one point, Ray Traylor clotheslined Scott Steiner into the water, which is a spot they decided on their own to do. Backstage, people were freaking out because Hall and Nash had a spot with the water planned for later in the show and were upset that Steiner and Traylor had done the water spot first. It ended up being Hall getting thrown in by the Giant while Nash just did a cannonball into it. Eddie Guerrero made his nephew Chavo wear an airbrushed shirt that said "Cheat to win" on the front and "Eddie Guerrero is my favorite wrestler" on the back. (https://stashpag.es/collections/stashpag...6567154753). Dave says Chris Jericho carries himself like a superstar. And finally, Sting made his ring entrance by rappelling down from a helicopter which got a great reaction but then he unfortunately had to wrestle. Dave says Sting is great as a character but the mystique just dies when the bell actually rings.

- Bret Hart missed Nitro because he was in Calgary attending a city council meeting. It's a long story but basically, Stu Hart is having financial problems and attempted to make a deal to sell the famous 21-room Hart family mansion (complete with the legendary Dungeon basement) and the 2 acres of land. The idea is to turn it into a retirement community where Stu and Helen Hart will continue to live. But the sale isn't finalized and if Stu can sell another 1.4 acres of land he owns to a developer, it would fix their money issues and they wouldn't have to sell the house. But the city has zoned the land as a park and is attempting to low ball Stu Hart on the offer. Bret offered to buy the house but Stu refused feeling it would cause a rift in the family (the Harts not getting along? Perish the thought). Reportedly 2 of Stu's daughters already won't talk to him because he's attempting to sell the house outside of the family. Anyway, long story short, there's a bunch of city council zoning law boring legal bullshit to be sorted out and Bret went to go be at that so he missed Nitro.

- Rick Martel is going to be out for around 6 months after his recent knee surgery (that's pretty much a wrap on his career).

- Jimmy Hart is expected to play himself in the upcoming Andy Kaufman movie starring Jim Carrey. Jimmy Hart was instrumental in the Kaufman angle with Jerry Lawler.

- Some of the Nitro Girls will be appearing in an upcoming issue of Penthouse Magazine but they won't be nude photos.

- The Giant's WCW contract is coming due within the next year and it's no secret WWF is very interested in him. But it's believed he'll stay wherever Hogan is (still almost a year away but nah, he's headed to WWF).

- Sports Collectors Digest ran a huge story on Bill Goldberg, talking about his football career. Talking about his 4 years as a starter for the Georgia Bulldogs in college, the single season record for most tackles by a lineman (121) he set during his senior year, being drafted to the NFL by the Rams in 1990 but being cut during camp before eventually landing with the Atlanta Falcons from 92-94. Goldberg grew up in Tulsa and Jim Ross actually refereed some of his high school football games. He tore an abdominal muscle which ended up ending his NFL career and that's why he jumped into wrestling.

- On Raw, Vince McMahon came out cutting a shoot-ish promo, referencing the Montreal screwjob. Dave says he wishes he could go one issue of the Observer without having the mention that show, but it just won't go away. Anyway, they talked about how Shawn Michaels doesn't lay down for anyone and basically implied that Shawn may not put over Austin at Mania. They had Vince basically say he was the owner of the company and has already decided Austin will do the job. Dave figures since everyone expects Austin to win the title at WM, they have to do something to try to make fans doubt the obvious outcome. But this stuff probably went over the heads of a lot of average viewers but it was interesting. As for Shawn, he's planning to do the show, but the status of his back injury is still questionable. After Wrestlemania, he's expected to be out for awhile. No word how long, it really depends on if they determine back surgery is necessary.

- Someone writes in and points out how hypocritical Marc Mero is. When he left WCW, one of his complaints was about how he didn't want to do an angle with Kimberly Page because it offended his religious sensibilities to be seen stealing another man's wife. So the fan wonders how Mero can justify all the angles going on in WWF now, with his real-life wife Sable. Dave agrees that Mero's willingness to go along with WWF's storylines when he had such a problem with a minor WCW storyline is indeed a little bit interesting.

- One final letter, someone asks Dave who he sees as his successor. Who will be the next Dave Meltzer? The writer says he loves the Observer and hopes Dave can continue for a long time, but he can't be around forever. The guy also wonders how long it will be until the Observer has an internet presence. "Surely all the complaints about slow mail delivery could be avoided if you published the Observer as a pay premium online service." Dave responds and says it'll be a long time before he quits because he can't imagine not doing the Observer. As for the future, Dave doesn't know of anyone who will take his place after he's done because they'd have to have the extensive knowledge of the industry that he has, plus the drive to write about it 24/7. As for the online stuff, Dave says they've explored the idea of publishing the Observer online but right now, it just isn't feasible.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post

- The issue opens with the death of American MMA fighter Douglas Dedge who died from brain injuries suffered in a fight in Ukraine. It's a long story but TL;DR as you can imagine, this isn't good news for the fledgling sport, which is already struggling to stay alive in the face of government scrutiny over the perceived dangers. Political opponents of MMA have been waiting for something like this to happen and they wasted no time in jumping on it. Even though it wasn't a UFC event, that hasn't stopped UFC from taking the brunt of the bad publicity. Dedge was punched into tapping out and immediately stood up after the fight ended, but then collapsed again. He went into a coma and never woke up, dying 2 days later. Former UFC co-owner Art Davie (who now co-owns K-1 America after UFC fired him) sent a letter to UFC and, conveniently enough, also sent the letter to Arizona senator John McCain and several cable and PPV companies, saying that MMA wasn't a sport and that UFC should be banned and even plugging his own new kickboxing promotion. So obviously, his motives for sending this letter are questionable to say the least (here's the video of the fight. Fair warning: you'll basically be watching a guy die).

- Scott Hall has checked himself into rehab again, almost exactly a year to the date that he did it last time. Hall is expected to be gone for at least 30 days. Last year, WCW caught a lot of flack for continuing to promote Hall when they knew he wasn't going to be appearing at shows. This time, they didn't mention his name once on Nitro and are no longer advertising him for house shows. This comes just a few weeks after the death of Louie Spicolli, who was a close friend of Hall's. Dave also mentions that 2 years ago, around this same time, Hall was suspended by WWF for testing positive for marijuana on the same day he gave notice that he was going to WCW.

- The Academy Awards, usually one of the top 2 or 3 rated TV shows of the year, aired head-to-head against both Raw and Nitro this week and yet both shows still managed to do strong ratings, which is phenomenal considering most shows get eaten alive by the Oscars. Basically every week or two, both Nitro and Raw seem to be setting ratings records and not even the Oscars seem to be able to slow them down. Interestingly enough, Raw actually won a quarter-hour segment in the ratings for the first time in over a year, but WCW still owned the night. But WWF is undeniably beginning to close the gap. In related news, a recent Raw aired on Tuesday because it was preempted by another show. That Tuesday episode of Raw, without facing Nitro competition, did a pretty monster rating also and has USA considering possibly moving Raw to Tuesdays, but it's still premature to speculate on whether it will actually happen. Besides, Dave says that if Raw moves to Tuesdays, WCW would likely just move Nitro to Tuesday also. One final note: these big time Raw ratings were for taped shows, which once again proves that taped vs. live has no bearing at all on ratings. (not sure if you've heard, but turns out wrestling was pretty damn popular in the late 90s).

- Les Thatcher will be promoting a Brian Pillman benefit show next month and he's managed to do the impossible: bring WWF, WCW, and ECW together under one roof. WWF has agreed to send Steve Austin and Sunny to co-host the show (but not wrestle). WCW will provide the main event, Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho. And ECW is sending Al Snow vs. Chris Candido. The rest of the show will be various indie wrestlers. All the money will go to Pillman's family.

- Eric Bischoff appeared on TSN's Off The Record show, mostly to respond to Vince McMahon's comments on the show the week before. While Vince came off charming, confident, slightly out-of-touch, and somewhat dishonest, Bischoff came off as far more open and honest, but also defensive and somewhat arrogant. Dave says that a lot of the wrestlers who have worked for both Bischoff and McMahon say that Bischoff doesn't seem to care about the wrestlers, while Vince at least acts like he cares even though most feel like it's just a facade and that Vince doesn't care about them either. Bischoff is far more blunt with his opinions and is less liked by his employees than McMahon. But those same people also say they trust Bischoff to be honest with them far more than they do McMahon. During their interviews, both men refused to admit to their obvious mistakes (McMahon when talking about the Melanie Pillman interview, Bischoff when he refused to admit in hindsight that firing Steve Austin was a mistake).

- Other notes from the interview: Bischoff claimed that much of McMahon's success was because of the talent, not because of McMahon's alleged promotional genius. Bischoff pointed out how both Hogan and Randy Savage already had the gimmicks that made them famous before coming to WWF and in Hogan's case, he was already a huge international star from his years in AWA and NJPW. Or in the cases of gimmicks that really hit, it was usually the talent that came up with it (Bischoff noted Scott Hall's Razor Ramon gimmick, which was Hall's idea and was basically just his old WCW Diamond Studd gimmick with a Scarface twist. Bischoff claimed Vince originally wanted Hall to do a G.I. Joe-style gimmick). As for Vince's claim that WWF was winning everything other than the ratings war, Bischoff disputed that too, saying WCW is leading in PPV buys (true) and that WCW is outdrawing WWF in house shows so far in 1998 (also true, although it's very close). As for TV ratings, Bischoff said Tuesday afternoons, when the ratings come in, used to be exciting but now they're so used to beating WWF that it's not even a big deal anymore (he's gonna be choking on those words in a few months).

- And still more notes from the interview: Bischoff points out that Austin's gimmick was his own creation and that Vince's idea (The Ringmaster) flopped, but admits WWF deserves credit for pushing Austin to the moon when he got over. As for firing Austin, Bischoff said Austin was injured a lot and they felt like Austin wasn't being honest with WCW about his injuries, which is why they fired him. Said Austin in WWF is "a big fish in a small pond" and he wouldn't be a top star in WCW. Talks about meeting Vince in 1990 for an announcer tryout and admits he wasn't a good announcer back then. Bischoff also admitted that he came up with the NWO concept after seeing the NJPW vs. UWFI feud in Japan in 1995. Says Lex Luger was originally supposed to be the 3rd man and then Sting but he figured both were too predictable, so they made the decision to go with Hogan 4 days before the show (Dave calls bullshit on that one, since he knew 10 days before the show that it would be Hogan). Said WCW plans to do a Hogan vs. Hart angle sooner or later and that it won't be a U.S. vs. Canada angle like WWF did. Regarding rumors that Bret was going to show up on Nitro with the WWF title the night after Survivor Series, Bischoff said "absolutely not" and explained how the circumstances were different from the Madusa WWF women's title incident. Given Hart's contract situation and WCW's ongoing lawsuits with WWF, he said there was no chance whatsoever that Hart would have shown up on Nitro that night. When questioned about all of WCW's top stars being over 40, Bischoff name dropped guys like Mysterio, Guerrero, Benoit and Jericho but the host pointed out that they're all mid-card guys and not presented as main eventers but Bischoff sorta dodged the question. And finally, he said McMahon tries to portray the wrestling war as himself vs. big bad billionaire Ted Turner, but Bischoff says Turner's involvement in WCW is minimal and that he actually only talks to Turner maybe twice a year. Eric Bischoff says he is the one kicking Vince's ass, not Ted Turner. (Weirdly enough, I can't find video of Bischoff's interview, but here's a more in-depth recap with a lot of exact quotes):


- Promo Azteca has taped a few demo shows with higher production values in an attempt to sell them to a network to air in the U.S. WCW is reportedly interested in airing it as their own Lucha show and is willing to pay for the extra production costs. On the flip side, WWF is interested in doing their own Mexican show called WWF Latino and have been negotiating with Televisa in Mexico about airing a show, but it's all in the discussion phases for now.

- Giant Baba has finalized the deal with WWF for Vader to appear at AJPW's upcoming Tokyo Dome show. There have been discussions for a relationship beyond that but the problem is basically....Baba is cheap. He's still stuck in the old mindset of paying a headliner around $10,000 per week. But when you're trying to sell out the Tokyo Dome and you need to bring in special attractions and gate money is potentially in the millions, it takes more than 10K to get a top WWF star. Baba won't put any serious money on the table for big time foreign names, so WWF ain't biting.

- A 19-year-old named Takeshi Morishima debuted for AJPW this week. Word is they're really high on him and he has great potential since he's a tall guy with a lot of skill and a judo background (he's mostly known for being one of the top names for NOAH and also a former ROH world champion. He retired in 2015 due to health issues but still helps run NOAH behind the scenes).

- NJPW rookie Shinya Makabe (better known these days as Togi Makabe) suffered a broken leg in a match last week and will be out for awhile.

- Randy Hales' new promotion Memphis Power Pro Wrestling debuted sooner than anticipated, holding their first show at Lady Luck Casino in Tunica, MS. It was basically the same group of people who have been working Jerry Lawler's casino shows for months, including Lawler himself, Sid Vicious, Bill Dundee, Tracy Smothers, etc. Despite basically being the exact same promotion as USWA, on paper, the company is 100% owned by Randy Hales, since he has no part in the ongoing legal mess from USWA. Speaking of...

- The legal situation over the demise of USWA got messier this week. Mark Selker filed a 200-page lawsuit against Lawler and Larry Burton, alleging conspiracy to defraud. Vince McMahon and several others are also named in the suit as co-conspirators, but not as defendants. The suit claims McMahon lied to Selker about the potential value of USWA in regard to advertising revenue that the promotion could bring in.

- A&E will be airing a 2 hour special called The Unreal Story of Pro Wrestling featuring interviews from many of the biggest names in the business (this is actually a pretty good documentary. I could only find it broken down into 7 videos. Here's Part 1 and it should automatically play the next part).

- Many in WCW are expecting that Syxx will be brought back. Hogan and Kevin Nash have been talking about doing a storyline to use the real-life heat between them, including the firing of Syxx, to work an angle where Nash would headline against Hogan, which pacifies Nash somewhat since he's been vocally unhappy about being held below Hogan's level.

- There's also rumors of Ultimate Warrior heading to WCW and it was even referenced by Mark Madden on the WCW Hotline. Dave says that 95% of the time, when you hear rumors about Warrior returning, they're false but in this case, there might be some truth to it. There's been talk of him working a couple of WCW PPVs in late 1998. Dave doesn't know if it's going to pan out but he says it'll surely bump ratings up in the short-term. Of course, Warrior has a known track record so he probably won't last in WCW long term, which is okay because aside from a short-term curiosity boost in ratings or buyrate for his first match, Warrior isn't good for much in the long run anyway.

- ECW has sold out 15 consecutive shows in a row. Meanwhile, WCW had sold out 20 in a row, but that streak came to an end last week in Cincinnati.

- Notes from the latest Nitro: Lodi suffered a legit broken ankle when catching Psicosis outside the ring during a spot. DDP vs. Sting was possibly Sting's best match in years. Chris Jericho was fantastic and hilarious yet again and has just been killing it the last few weeks. The Giant has been legitimately gaining a bunch of weight and when the announcers said he's 493, it's not an exaggeration.

Lodi injury at 3:36

- Kevin Wacholz, formerly Nailz in the WWF, is expected to join WCW and be part of the NWO and get a big push (nah never happened). Dave recaps the incident from 1991 where Nailz attacked Vince McMahon and choked him over his Summerslam payoff and then filed a police report claiming McMahon sexually assaulted him. Nailz then testified against McMahon in the steroid trial and was so obviously full of shit that it actually helped McMahon rather than hurt him. Dave seems befuddled that anyone would hire this guy and says, "Next thing you know, somebody can O.J. his girlfriend and get a job in this profession. Hell, they can do that and afterwards be considered for the Hall of Fame in this profession." Chris Benoit respectfully disagrees.

- Latest update on the Jim Carrey "Man on the Moon" about the life of Andy Kaufman....Jimmy Hart will play himself but it's believed they may not actually call the wrestler in the movie Jerry Lawler because it's being produced by a Time Warner company. So they will tell the story of the wrestling angle, but it's believed it'll just be a fictional wrestler. WCW is actually pushing for Disco Inferno to get the part (Lawler later confirmed this in his autobiography but thankfully it didn't happen that way. Can you imagine?)

- Notes from the latest Raw: indie wrestler Christopher Daniels, who wrestles as Fallen Angel, worked a dark match before the show. Rocky Maivia is great. Vince Russo appeared on TV as part of an angle with Sable and Luna Vachon.

- WWF is reportedly close to signing John Tenta and Steven Regal.

- Shawn Michaels will work Wrestlemania but it's expected that he won't be wrestling again for a long time afterward (boy, I'll say).

- Someone who attended the Eddie Gilbert memorial show put on by Dennis Coraluzzo writes in and talks about the show, specifically about Coraluzzo and Gilbert's mom cutting promos burying Paul Heyman and claiming he stole ECW from Gilbert. Dave responds and says he doesn't really think a memorial show is the classiest place to be burying people. He also says the story between Gilbert and Heyman over ECW is a lot more complicated than Heyman allegedly backstabbing Gilbert and stealing it and for Coraluzzo to simplify it to that extent is pure fiction.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

Quote:Said Austin in WWF is "a big fish in a small pond" and he wouldn't be a top star in WCW.

probably so true. Bischoff understands how the wcw pecking order works
[Image: topdogg.jpg]
Yeah I mean, given the way WCW was being run at the time, he would have been feuding with Jericho and Benoit in the midcard along with everyone else not named Hogan.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

[+] 2 users Like Peezy's post

- Wrestlemania 14 is in the books and was a pretty good and memorable show. Mike Tyson's involvement was, as expected, limited and predictable but was well-done. Shawn Michaels went into the match with a serious back injury, re-aggravated the injury worse during the match, and tried to gut out a classic performance but wasn't able to live up to the level of classic matches he lives to perform on big shows. The match was good but not great, but the fact that Shawn was clearly in agony for the entire match and still managed to do as well as he did was the real story. There's concern that he ruptured a disc in his back and will likely be out of action for close to a year if surgery is required, and the next night on Raw, he was basically written off TV, with HHH taking over DX. Surprisingly, the real show-stealer ended up being Sable, who wrestled her first match ever and did a wide variety of karate kicks that looked better than anything that the WCW "martial artists" (Glacier, Mortis, etc.) have ever done. She wasn't in much to keep from exposing her and came out of the match looking great. Pete Rose ate a tombstone from Kane. Jim Ross did some of the best commentating of his life and seemed to be out to prove himself and made every match feel important and epic.

- Other notes from Wrestlemania: Legion of Doom debuted their new gimmick, repackaged as LOD 2000 with a new look and managed by Sunny wearing next to nothing. Dave says that calling Hawk awful would be an insult to awful wrestlers everywhere. Aguila is a great high flyer but aside from that is pretty bad at actual wrestling and his match with Taka Michinoku wasn't even up to the level of the worst WCW cruiserweight matches. Owen Hart was working on a bad ankle and probably shouldn't have been in the ring at all but he did good considering. Shawn Michaels was wearing a ring on a chain around his neck because he reportedly just got engaged to a former WWF seamstress (that one clearly didn't go anywhere) and he looked into the camera and gave Earl Hebner a shout-out before the match (more on that in a second). The crowd chanted "Holyfield!" at Mike Tyson but the announcers ignored it. Shawn worked hard but it was evident that he was dying out there.

- Earl Hebner was scheduled to referee the show and take the bump in the main event, but the night before the show, he suffered what is believed to have been a brain aneurysm and was rushed to the hospital. He reportedly didn't recognize anyone who came to visit him and was in bad shape and is expected to be hospitalized for at least a few weeks.

- The most influential wrestler of the modern era, Antonio Inoki, is expected to have his final match this week. He'll face the winner of a 4-man tournament that will be held earlier in the show. The show takes place at the Tokyo Dome and sold out weeks in advance. It's expected to be the largest crowd in the history of Japanese wrestling. They're trying to cram 70,000 into the building which would also be the largest crowd ever in the Dome, wrestling or otherwise. Dave has been in the building many times and he doesn't think it will be possible to cram that many people into it but we'll see. The show will air in prime time on network TV throughout Japan. Muhammad Ali, Bob Backlund, and many others are expected to attend. This leads to Dave recapping Inoki's career. He talks about how Japanese wrestling would be unimaginably different without Inoki and even argues that shoot fighting probably wouldn't even exist today as a sport if not for Inoki. UFC might still have happened but it would probably be a whole different world, since it essentially spawned from things like Pancrase in Japan which wouldn't have existed if not for Inoki. He was also the first wrestling promoter to make Hulk Hogan a superstar. He's responsible for popularizing promotion vs. promotion angles, which directly led to things like the NWO. Over the last nearly 4 decades, Inoki has been at the forefront of most of the changes in the wrestling business more than anyone else in history. Not to say he was a great man. Dave recaps some of his scandals, talks about how Inoki used his popularity to become a politician and was nearly impeached. He's had accusations of embezzlement, tax evasion, and other personal failings. But his influence on pro wrestling is simply unmatched.

- Sean Waltman (formerly Syxx) signed with WWF and debuted on Raw the night after Wrestlemania as the newest member of DX, cutting a shoot promo against WCW and Eric Bischoff. Waltman was fired 3 weeks ago by WCW, pretty much as a pawn in the disagreements between the Hall/Nash and Bischoff/Hogan camps. Waltman then agreed to a 4-year deal with WWF for somewhere between $300,000-$350,000 which is a significant raise over what he was making in WCW. Bischoff had told Nash that he might be willing to rehire Waltman, but no one in WCW ever contacted him and naturally, Waltman was pissed and wasn't going to come begging them to rehire him. It was the second time Bischoff had fired Waltman and Dave says Bischoff is notorious for threatening to fire people to get them to do what he wants. WWF originally low-balled Waltman but after more negotiations, ended up paying him more than WCW was. The deal also requires Waltman to only work a maximum of 15 days a month. The signing sent a signal to many disgruntled WCW wrestlers: WWF is now willing to pay big money for top talent, which they weren't willing to do before. And especially since they featured Waltman in a top spot (with DX) despite his size, it especially sends a message to smaller guys like Benoit, Mysterio, Guerrero and Jericho that WWF may be a better option, since there's the chance of upward mobility. In WCW, those guys are under a glass ceiling and word is now that they may be willing to give up the WCW money to take their chances in WWF.

- Waltman cut a promo, trashing Hogan and Bischoff and saying that Hall and Nash would be there with him in WWF if they weren't being held hostage by WCW contracts. Dave says a job that pays them $1 million a year for minimal work doesn't exactly qualify as a hostage crisis but says it's true that both Hall and Nash asked for their releases by WCW and were turned down. This leads into a mini-rant by Dave saying it's time for wrestlers to unionize, especially when it comes to health insurance. He says with business so hot right now, neither company will risk shutting things down if all the wrestlers banded together so now would be the best time to strike on that. Anyway, Waltman is expected to go by the name X-Pac (he wanted to be called Syxx-Pac but given all the lawsuit issues between WWF and WCW on things like that, WWF doesn't want to risk using his WCW name in any way). He won't be able to wrestle for about 2 more months due to his neck injury which still isn't healed. Speaking of, Eric Bischoff held a meeting backstage at Nitro to try and smooth morale since a lot of people were unhappy about Waltman's firing because it seemed to be done only as a way to fuck over Hall and Nash. Bischoff justified the firing by talking about Waltman being out injured for so long and told the locker room that any wrestler out of action for more than 6 months might be let go. This blatantly contradicts what Bischoff told the wrestlers a few months ago (after Pillman's death) when he said no wrestler would be fired for taking off for an injury or for rehab if they needed to get clean. Waltman has looked into the possibility of suing WCW for wrongful termination to collect on the remaining 18 months of his WCW contract.

- Other notes from the post-Mania Raw: it was WWF's raunchiest episode ever, full of bad language and deviant behavior more than any national promotion has ever done before. Sean Morley debuted doing a porn star gimmick using the name Val Venis. Dan Severn also debuted, as well as a few other Michinoku Pro wrestlers who came in to beat up Taka Michinoku.

- As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, WWC women's champion La Tigresa was arrested in Puerto Rico as part of a drug trafficking sting. The story got enough media coverage in the country that WWC addressed it on their TV show, saying they were surprised about the arrest and that everyone wrestling there has to undergo drug testing and background checks and all that stuff and that La Tigresa had never come up on their radar as anyone they'd need to be worried about. They even trotted out WWC co-owner Invader #1 to encourage people to say no to drugs and not get involved in crime, which Dave thinks is pretty rich coming from the guy who murdered Bruiser Brody.

- Carlos Colon is believed to be retiring soon. He's "retired" multiple times in the past but now he's the new owner of a record label called Primo Records and is reportedly considering retiring for real this time to focus on running that business (nah).

- Promo Azteca is slowly trying to change the booking and build the promotion around wrestlers who aren't signed to WCW because it's believed that WCW can pull its wrestlers at anytime. So Azteca doesn't want to be left with their dicks swinging in the wind if WCW decides to pull all of Azteca's top stars (which ends up being exactly what happens).

- AJPW's Champion Carnival tournament was completely screwed when Akira Taue suffered a knee injury. These tournaments in AJPW are meticulously planned out in advance, with a points system based on wins and losses (much like the G-1) so any deviation from the plan can mess up everything. Taue's injury will require him to miss the rest of the tournament, forcing them to re-book the entire thing now.

- Keiji Muto (Great Muta) will be undergoing reconstructive knee surgery and will be out at least a few months and they hope to have him back by the G-1 Climax in August. Turns out 14 years of moonsaults and landing on his knees has messed them up pretty badly and it's possible he may be retiring the moonsault as a finisher when he returns. Muta's knee problems are a big part of why his in-ring ability has declined so much in recent years.

- Eric Bischoff will also be attending Antonio Inoki's retirement show and will be meeting with NJPW officials while he's there to try to salvage the WCW/NJPW relationship. The belief is that NJPW will be willing to work with WCW as long as Bischoff takes Sonny Onoo out of the picture because they don't like him, but Bischoff has been using Onoo as his middleman.

- Memphis Power Pro Wrestling will debut on TV in the old USWA timeslot live on Saturday mornings. It will also feature the old USWA commentary team of Dave Brown and Cory Maclin. For all intents and purposes, Power Pro is basically just USWA with a new name and an owner who isn't being sued for fraud.

- At an ECW show over the weekend, the crowd started throwing stuff (bottles, cups, etc.) at the ring during a Sabu/RVD promo. Sabu tried to pick up a broken piece of table to shield himself with but kept getting hit and eventually, enraged, he threw the chunk of table at the crowd. A young fan, around 9 years old, was hit with the table and knocked to the ground and suffered an arm injury and had to be taken away in an ambulance. The crowd still didn't stop throwing stuff until Sabu and RVD eventually left without finishing their promo. Dave says WCW in particular has encouraged this sort of behavior for over a year by making it seem cool when fans throw stuff at the ring.

- Joel Gertner got married this past weekend. Some lucky lady bagged the quintessential stud muffin.

- On Nitro this week, Chris Jericho had a match and afterwards, he cut a promo talking about how Dean Malenko claims to be the man of 1,000 holds, but Jericho claims he knows 1,004 holds and he proceeded to read them off a list as the show went to commercial and was still reading when they came back. And in the ultimate WTF Dave Meltzer moment, he writes that it "flopped major" and even though it was designed to be intentionally bad, this "was bad in the wrong way." That's one of Chris Jericho's most classic bits! Dammit, I'm tempted to quit doing these Rewinds. I don't need this sort of negativity in my life from you Dave.


- Other Nitro notes: they teased Dennis Rodman returning soon, but didn't say when. The announcing was horrible, with Tony Schiovane twice saying that the Hogan vs. Piper matches last year were some of the greatest matches in the history of the sport. Sting legit injured his hip during the tag match.

- WCW recently released both Bobby Walker and Vincent/Virgil last week but they were both re-hired this week. Walker is related to former wrestler Thunderbolt Patterson, who is nowadays a prominent Atlanta-area black activist. In the past, Patterson has spoken up about how WCW treats black wrestlers so WCW has always been careful to keep a couple of black wrestlers on the payroll just to keep him quiet. A lot of people were surprised WCW would fire Walker for that reason so it wasn't a huge surprise that they immediately hired him back. As for Vincent/Virgil, his skin color had nothing to do with being rehired. He simply went to Hogan and asked him to intervene and Hogan got him hired back.

- WCW has struck a deal with DirecTV where customers can essentially "buy" Nitro each week as a $4.99 PPV and it will be without commercial breaks and they can see all the action that's happening in the ring while the TV show is still on commercial. It's an experiment now to see if it pays off. They're calling it Nitro-Plus (I don't think this ever really lasted long).

- The latest on Ultimate Warrior is that there are apparently serious discussions going on with WCW but no deal has been reached yet. WCW is offering him in the low six-figures to work 2 PPVs and a few Nitros later this year. Bischoff met with Warrior in Phoenix last week to discuss it.

- Lodi, who broke his ankle last week on Nitro, had surgery this week and had 2 pins put in. He will be out for at least a month.

- Alex Wright has been cleared to return to wrestling after suffering a brain aneurysm a few months ago, but WCW wants him to sign a waiver absolving them of liability in case he has any future issues from it before they allow him to wrestle again. Wright is refusing to sign it so unless one side changes their mind, it looks like he's just going to sit out the remainder of his contract and keep getting paid but not wrestling (somebody eventually blinks because he's back in the ring by next month).

- Randy Savage was injured in a dark match with Sting at the WCW Saturday Night tapings. About 30 seconds into the match, Savage went down and Sting very gently put the scorpion deathlock on him for the win. Savage then had to be carried out of the ring and seemed to have suffered an ankle injury (must not have been too bad, doesn't look like he missed any real time).

- Scott Putski was supposed to have a tryout match before Nitro but it got cancelled because he didn't bring his medical release. Putski suffered a serious leg injury in a match with Brian Christopher at WWF's In Your House back in September and was later released. But he has to prove to WCW that he's medically cleared to wrestle again before they let him tryout (he eventually ends up in WCW).

- Rick Rude is reportedly seriously considering paying back his Lloyd's of London disability policy so he can return to wrestling.

- There's been talk of re-forming a new version of the Four Horsemen, with Arn Anderson as the spokesman and with Ric Flair of course involved and specifically to include Bill Goldberg. The idea being that they could put Goldberg in the spotlight but still protect crowds from seeing his weaknesses, which is basically what they did with Lex Luger back in 1987.

- There was a dark match before Raw with the Quebecers and Ray Rougeau vs. Adam Copeland, Shawn Stasiak, and Tom Brandi. Dave says it was Ray Rougeau's first match in years.

- On Raw, they did an angle with Steve Austin and Vince McMahon where Vince basically played the role of a slimy promoter trying to get the wrestler to do what he wants him to do, but of course, Austin rebelled and gave him a stunner and was arrested. Dave thinks it was great and says Vince and Austin are 2 of the best actors in the biz (I doubt this storyline will get over).

- WWF was reportedly very impressed with Christopher Daniels after his tryout last week (apparently not impressed enough).

- Steven Regal is telling people that he will be starting with WWF as soon as his non-compete clause with WCW expires. He's also in the process of losing weight.

- Shawn Michaels reportedly had a police guard with him for much of the weekend of Wrestlemania due to death threats. Umm, okay?
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

No mention of New Age Outlaws joining DX? Was that the same night?
Nah that happened a few months before, when they pushed Cactus and Funk off the stage in a dumpster.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]

i love dave's neverending fight for a wrestling union. been to long since he brought that up
[Image: topdogg.jpg]
I could have swore the NAO joined dx officially the night after WM. They had been loosely affiliated before that but I don't thhave no it was official til that night
[+] 2 users Like sanderz1's post

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)